The Ukrainian Gate Project

By: Waddington's Staff


Lot 1 – The Ukrainian Gate

Gathering in their workshops with a shared sense of purpose, 13 blacksmiths and metalworkers from across Ontario contributed their passion and expertise into crafting a one-of-a-kind work of art: The Ukrainian Gate Project.

Waddington’s is honoured to present an inimitable work of Canadian craftsmanship in a specialty auction whose proceeds will go directly to the Ukrainian family who inspired its creation. The project was overseen by Robb Martin of Thak Ironworks. A brief interview with Robb can be found below.

The Ukrainian Gate Project serves as a symbol of hope and resilience. Metal designer Irina Tereshchenko arrived in Waterloo, Ontario with her two children as refugees in 2022. The war in Ukraine separated her from her husband Sergii Skorobohatsky, a blacksmith and an award-winning sculptor who currently remains in their homeland to fight against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Upon her arrival in Canada, Irina was welcomed by her new community. She was soon introduced to blacksmith Robb Martin who invited her to design a piece so that her story could be shared with the world. The pair worked alongside a team of volunteers from across Ontario showcasing the power of community and creative collaboration. Each component of The Ukrainian Gate Project has been handmade by a different artist, incorporating various metals such as steel, bronze and copper. The ambitious undertaking took hundreds of hours of volunteer work, and is a fantastic example of forged art, adopting elements of Art Nouveau and the styling of Jules Verne.

The piece was first revealed at the CanIron Festival in Fergus, Ontario last year, and is open for bidding alongside our Canadian Arts, Culture & History auction in June 2024.



How did you become involved in the project?

The project was actually my idea. I was introduced to Irina by a social worker, with hopes that I could offer her employment. I was not in a position to do that, but upon examining her photo album depicting her designs, I was immediately impressed with her unique take on decorative forged ironwork. Very quickly i decided that a collaborative project to showcase her design talents might raise her some much needed funds. It took a bit of gentle encouragement to get her to accept the challenge….but she did. I then reached out to OABA to recruit other blacksmiths as I knew it was beyond the scope I was able to contribute……the rest is history.

Irina’s original sketch, overlaid with the border for the gate.

What was the most difficult aspect?

I was responsible for assembling the many individual pieces created our volunteer blacksmiths. Despite the fact that everybody did a good job to make their components to the correct scale, it was challenging to merge these many pieces together to create the homogenous finished gate. My shop foreman Ryan Fish was invaluable in assisting me through this project. His contribution is hidden but integral to the project.

How different was this project from your usual work?

This project is similar to my day-to-day reality as a full time smith doing one-off custom work. The difference was that I was working with a large team with differing styles and approaches.

You collaborated with 12 artisans as well as with Irina Tereshchenko. What is it like to work with this many other creatives? 

It is usually fun to combine creativity with other skilled artisans . A synergistic energy drove this project to an exceptional level of craftsmanship and artistry…and this all happened with minimal clashing of egos.

Why should people bid on this item?

People should bid on this item first and foremost because it is a product of the talent and passion of Irina Tereshchenko. This was created during an incredibly stressful period of her life, where she repeated showed great courage and perseverance.

Secondly, it is simply a damn fine example of forgework.


“I have depicted my recent life experience in this design: one side of the clock-face has no numbers on it, and another side is torn, which metaphorically represents this challenging period of my life. The steampunk elements add to the idea of the alternative reality while the forged elements on the top and in the bottom remain balanced and sophisticated to represent the beauty and harmony of life itself as it goes on.” 

–  Irina Tereshchenko



Through their collective efforts, these contributing artisans were assigned specific elements and used traditional techniques to construct their individual parts of the piece:

Ryan Belanger
Wolfgang Bleckert
Aimie Botelho
David Brandow
Sandra Dunn
Ryan Fish
Zac Mahadeo
Robb “Thak” Martin
Douglas Morlock
Lloyd Johnston
Mark Puigmarti
Shane Stackpole
Piper Yorke

Read more about the Ukrainian Gate Project:


About the Auction

The Ukrainian Gate is offered in a dedicated auction available for bidding until June 27.

The Gate is currently available for viewing at our Toronto gallery, located at 275 King Street, 2nd Floor, by appointment.

Contact us for more information.

Related News

Start Collecting

Everything you need to know to get you started bidding in our auctions at Waddington’s.

Learn More

How to Sell

Find out why selecting Waddington’s is the right choice for consigning your works of art, wine or specialty items.

Learn More

Become a Member

Sign up for your Waddington’s account to start bidding, manage your invoices, and track items you're interested in.

Sign Up