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The Reinvention of the Steel Yard

Oct 26, 2012

by Alison Feldmann

Here at Etsy, we love a good reinvention story. Today our friends at Makeshift Magazine, the journal of hidden creativity, share a tale of a destitute steel mill’s evolution into a community space for industrial art: the Steel Yard. In fostering the industrial arts and incubating small business, these entrepreneurs are working to cultivate an environment of experimentation and a community strengthened by creative networks. It’s a beautiful thing.

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  • creativeclassics said 7 years ago

    It's really amazing what disused buildings can become! So many developers would rather destroy historic buildings and rebuild "modern" (and often less properly constructed) places on the top. I hope we get to see similar creative uses for these well-loved and under-appreciated buildings (especially in the UK).

  • BrokenFingersArt said 7 years ago

    Awesome and inspiring!

  • PattiTrostle said 7 years ago

    I didn't know this was happening. So glad to see this!! Thanks!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts said 7 years ago

    Very creative!

  • rivahside said 7 years ago

    Weirton W. Va. should consider this!

  • QuirkMuseum said 7 years ago

    Great story! I gotta have a Steel Yard too.

  • ThePattypanShop said 7 years ago

    Great story! Thanks!

  • auntjanecan said 7 years ago

    Wonderful story! I love it

  • dollybirddesign said 7 years ago

    Awesome post and totally inspiring to keep the fire burning. Thank you.

  • bosquecarpentry said 7 years ago

    This is great. If only everyone would see the value of letting a community come together in a forgotten space, instead of letting everything sit and rot.

  • KMalinka said 7 years ago

    Very interesting post!

  • netteblo said 7 years ago

    I have seen this happen before in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. It needs to happen more!!! The abundance of old abandoned buildings utilized for and by artisans, is such a great concept!!!

  • reflectionsjewelry said 7 years ago


  • Niderart said 7 years ago

    Good work, very inspiring. I'm also a metal artist.

  • BambuEarth said 7 years ago


  • blainedesign said 7 years ago

    I'm a Baby Boomer. In my generation, our parents worked to get OUT of the steelyard, away from manual labor, and into desk jobs. I am always so encouraged to see young people who want back IN -- back to the necessary, physical, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous skills that literally built the designed world. Great story.

  • crankbunny said 7 years ago

    aww - this reminds me of doing foundry work 15 years ago ( i work in paper now but got a degree where all i did was weld & cast metal... go figure ).

  • dizhasneatstuff said 7 years ago

    It's the ultimate recycling project. It's great to see so many involved and I look forward to something like that happening in my neck of the prairie.

  • gloriafreshley said 7 years ago

    Wonderful! Many thanks to all of those involved in re-developing Steel Yard and also to the filmmaker(s)!

  • guext65 said 7 years ago

    So Cool

  • Bananamoo said 7 years ago

    really cool!!

  • SundayOwl said 7 years ago

    I love this story, a magical project.

  • serasijewelry said 7 years ago

    I'm so glad to see them featured. I've been there several times, used their studio and for small group gatherings. They're the nicest people I've met.

  • MerCurios said 7 years ago

    Great story! Thank you for sharing.

  • Iammie said 7 years ago


  • thestudioonrobinlane said 7 years ago

    I'm sorry if I'm sounding too political. Don't mean to be – but its a fact, that if a certain political party is elected, the grants and funding for non-profits like this could go away. All-in all - very inspiring and moving piece. Nice job on the video.

  • fbstudiovt said 7 years ago

    I first heard of the Steel Yard a few years ago and have been in love with it ever since. Some little germ of their idea planted in my brain and I've been stuck on creating communal art spaces in empty industrial and retail locations ever since. I'm up to 4 so far! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • LivingVintage said 7 years ago


  • messinabella said 7 years ago

    very interesting!

  • earthlycreature said 7 years ago

    Very Cool!

  • BethMcGavock said 7 years ago

    I been to the Halloween performance for the past 4 years. It is worth the trip. The Steel Yard, Iron Guild, and Green Foundry put a lot of thought into each year's Halloween show and it certainly shows. The seeds of creativity, and obsession with molten metal, have been planted.

  • DanielHensley said 7 years ago

    This place is great! My mother-in-law took some classes there and discovered a whole new side to her creativity that she hadn't known before. Providence is a pretty gritty little town, but the arts culture there is excellent. So glad to see it alive and thriving!

  • LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Great video, Ive never done metal work but its so surprisingly versatile!

  • LaECLECTICa said 7 years ago

    Wow, very innovative and interesting!

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