Horni namesti 7
Organisation that manages courses of artistic blacksmith art around Castle Helfštýn.
Helfstyn Castle (Hrad Helfštýn) is one of the largest medieval castles preserved in the Czech Republic. It is a registered cultural monument which is visited by more then 80 000 visitors a year. For more than 30 years serves the castle as a renowned meeting point of artistic blacksmiths from all over the world especially due to organising Hefaiston, an international festival of blacksmith art. This event attracts more than 500 blacksmiths and more than 10 000 visitors every year. The important goal of the festival is to arrange mutual exchange of knowledge and experience in forging and sharing ideas across different cultures and languages. For several days courtyards, halls, walls and towers of the castle become a scene for a unique exhibition of hundreds of forged sculptures and iron art produced that year, some of them never exhibited any more. There is also a forging competition among blacksmiths and their arts and crafts are continually demonstrated on eleven workplaces with forges.
Except the Hefaiston there are other events that help to promote smithery and iron art, for example Night Forging and Blacksmiths’ Forum. The castle systematically builds a permanent collection of forged sculpture which has up to date nearly 2 000 pieces.
Helfstyn Castle is a branch of Comenius Museum in Prerov (Muzeum Komenského v Přerově), which was founded in 1888 and has nowadays around 50 employees. Except keeping collections comprising nearly 250 000 items, among them school history, blacksmith art and ornithology are the most important, provides the museum a big variety of educational programmes for schools accompanying long term as well as temporary exhibitions.
The management of Helfštýn organises regular (week or two week) courses of artistic blacksmith art directly on the historical grounds of the castle. The offer of the courses was started by Alfred Habermann in 1999. Since then more than 50 courses have taken place and hundreds of participants have finished their course. The courses involve specialised techniques of blacksmith art which are not the regular standard in the curriculum at schools and apprentice institutions, such as production of tools, Damascus forging, forging in copper, iron sculpure and drawing. The courses are organized in cooperation with the experienced lecturers and leading Czech blacksmithing masters and successors of A. Habermann deceased in 2008.
The practical part of the course takes place in the third castle courtyard. A smithy stood in this part of the castle from as early as the Middle Ages. The theoretical part of the course takes place in an adapted interior of the former castle bakery. The participants are provided with a facility for instruction, drawing and short lectures. The equipment in the castle smithy amounts to a range of both hand and electronic tools and also serves to create an environment for work with current technologies in the core of the Medieval castle which creates a remarkable combination. 10 workplaces in all are prepared for the participants. A practical library focused on history, art history and the development of the craft and artistic blacksmith art serves to develop the theoretical knowledge of the participants. The castle cooperates with different secondary or high art schools, for example with The Secondary School of Applied Arts and the College Of Craft in Turnov (Czech Republic).