Passion for hot forging

By Veronika Pavlova

Blacksmith Andrey Sharak consciously chose his profession, working hard to grasp the secrets of blacksmithing at a rapid pace. He not only rivals those who have spent their lives forging but has earned their respect.

Crafted by hand
Andrey became interested in blacksmithing long ago, working at a nearby smithy, which captured his imagination. So great was his fascination, that he was soon spending all his available time there. He laughs, “I had to learn everything from scratch and ask a lot of questions. Sometimes, I so irritated my colleague with questions that he, being confused, would chase after me with a hammer. Little by little, I began to make my own pieces — not for order, but for myself. Then, the Germans looked at my work and offered me a job in Germany.”

Destroying stereotypes
On returning to Belarus, he opened his own business. It was a time when stainless steel was popular, but the blacksmith did not betray his true craft. He began to promote metal framed ladders, breaking the stereotypes of Soviet times to prove that such ladders can be refined and fashionable. He implemented knowledge gained in Germany.

Not weight, but appearance
“The architecture of a building plays a great role in its design,” Mr. Sharak tells us. “For example, if the facade, roof, window and door openings are straight, the canopy shouldn’t be arched or double-sloped. Meanwhile, in decorating a small wooden house, you need to ensure that the entrance, balconies, planters and so on don’t look too bulky. You need to harmonise them with the house. We often make products appear artificially aged, using metallic paint effects to create a patina. For a black metal item, we spatter green onto the black before, finally, adding silver. It looks as if the metal has oxidised naturally, being about 50 years old.”
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