Forging craft originality
Famous blacksmiths from the Grodno District’s Ozery can even create an auroch from metal
Roman and his steel ‘auroch’
The self-taught master’s son, Roman, has loved to spend time in the forge since childhood and, having grown up with the ancient craft, is now excelling, surpassing even his father’s achievements. His niche is making artefacts from scrap iron. Roman recollects, “I wanted my first work to show Belarusian national colour, since I’m grateful for this country having become our second homeland. I’d never seen a living auroch so I can’t explain why else I chose this animal for my subject.”
Villagers demonstrated sincere interest in implementing Roman’s original idea of making an auroch from obsolete automobile spare parts, bringing old springs, brackets and other scrap items. After several months of work, a 1.3 tonne king of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha emerged, standing 1.5m tall. Placed outside, it attracted attention not only from the agro-town’s residents but from guests, who were keen to take photos.
An Italian collector saw photos of the sculpture online and, later, the auroch went to reside in Florence. This inspired Roman to make another, weighing 1.5 tonnes. This creature also failed to spend much time in Ozery, soon being relocated to Minsk.
St. Nicholas the Worker of Miracles stands at the entrance to the forge. Inside the old barn, beside wrought iron railings, stands a cross of intricate lacing. You can tell that it’s been made with love. Yuri comments, “Our talents come from God. Accordingly, we should never forget the good we can render others. A blacksmith is not only respected but is of great help to everyone in the village, repairing tools and machinery.”
The forged cross is Yuri’s idea and he admits that he’d love to erect it in a holy place, in the country which so warmly welcomed his family. Speaking of his son, who grew up in Ozery, the father notes proudly, “He’s excelled me in terms of originality.”
A blacksmith’s job looks romantic at first sight but, in reality, it involves hard physical work.
However, Roman, aged 25, sees smithing as his vocation. He underlines, “The craft is captivating. In fact, people used to believe the profession to be linked to magic. It’s more than a job for me: it’s an outlet for my artistic expression.”
By Yelena Semenova