Fire Fest: Pre-event Welding Workshop With Joe Paczosa

Fire Fest: Pre-event Welding Workshop With Joe Paczosa

The New Year is off to a flaming start when 3rd annual Telluride Fire Festival, (overview here) January 20 – January 22, ignites Thursday, January 19. The event opens with a reception featuring Burning Man photographer Scott London, free fire performances at Mountain Lodge, followed by three nights of free fire art installations and fire dancing in Telluride starting Friday, January 20. To volunteer for Fire Fest, go here. To purchase Fire Ball tickets, go here. Link here for all ticketed events and workshops and for further information. Link here to Fire Fest’s FAQ page. 

But in the run up to the Big Event, Telluride Fire Fest hosts a pre-event welding workshop, Saturday and Sunday, January 7 and January, taught by Joe Paczosa. 


Welcome to the world of fire, steel and creativity. Enjoy a workshop with seasoned professional sculptor and welder, Joseph Paczosa, and learn basic techniques of welding while creating a small-scale individual or group project. The hands-on class will teach participants how to cut, forge, and weld, as well as safety procedures associated with the craft. All equipment and materials will be supplied. Again, students will have the option to complete a small project as a team or a create a sculpture for themselves. 

Scholarships are available.

Email festival co-founder and director Erin Ries at erin@telluridefirefestival.orto request additional details.

About Joe Paczosa


Rooted in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride Forge draws inspiration from the majestic natural environment when creating unique hand-forged artwork for the home and community. His artistry is on display in town at the Alpine Chapel and in Mountain Village at Madeline Hotel & Residences.

In the beginning: How Telluride Fire Fest began:

The monster Sixties rock group known as The Doors put out that provocative invitation in 1966 (in their ‘mongo hit “Light My Fire”): Come on baby, light my fire..”

Twenty years later, in 1986, Burning Man RSVP-ed.

Burning Man was born when Larry Harvey, Jerry James, and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco and burned a 9-foot (2.7-meter) wooden man and a smaller wooden dog. Burning Man evolved into an annual art event and temporary community based on radical and unedited self-expression and self-reliance that takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

“The Telluride Fire Festival was born out of yearly sojourns at Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV, where spectacular moving and stationary art is on display everywhere. Telluride has a thriving arts community and we want to offer up our region as a new platform to help amplify this dynamic, singularly spectacular fire art form,”explains Telluride Fire Fest co-founder Erin Ries.

Check out this final video from the 2016. This one was made by Brandon Segelke for the Telluride Ski Resort:

More about the Telluride Fire Festival:

Co-founders Ries & Myers:

Erin & Chris – she’s the one in the flaming pink wig –one hot couple, founders of Telluride Fire Festival.

Erin Ries and Chris Myers – she’s the one in the flaming pink wig – are one hot couple and the co- founders of Telluride Fire Festival.

Erin Ries is a 26-year resident of Telluride with a proven track record in running complex and large-scale events such as the Telluride Wine Festival and the Telluride Ski Resort’s Prospect Bowl Grand Opening. When it comes to transforming a vision into reality, she knows how to make it happen. Erin is Fire Fest’s event director. She is also a partner in Diana Ries Designs with her twin sister, Diana.

Chris Myers is a former Town Councilman for Telluride, wholly committed and connected to the community. And as an entrepreneur/founder of his own lighting business—enLIGHTen—13 years ago, he understands the power of light. Chris plans to utilize his skills as a lighting designer to transform the venue for the Fire Ball into a luxurious and lavish space— for one night only, North America’s highest nightclub.

Telluride Fire Festival: Board

“The Telluride Festival relies on input from the seven-person Board of Directors, each of whom is steeped in the world of art and business, a rare combination,” said Ries. “They range from a chef/owner of a five-star restaurant to an award-winning filmmaker, and Owner of a Nutrition & Wellness company. These talented individuals participate in frequent meeting, and temper the Festival’s vision with reality.”

Chris Myers, Board President, Owner/enLIGHTenSuzan Beraza, Founder/Reel Thing Films

Chad Scothorn, Restaurateur

Audrey Marnoy, Marketing Strategist and Philanthropist

Jacqui Power, Teacher

Jerry  LaBonté, LaBonté Nutrition & Wellness, Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor

Lawry de Bivort, Ph.D, Visionary, Strategist


The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501c3 organization, is an interactive fire art experience offering fee-based workshops and  free outdoor displays of fire artistry free to attendees to enable all to immerse themselves in fire arts. Scholarships are available for workshops. If interested, email for details.

For more about the Festival, to become a sponsor, volunteer, or submit a fire installation for consideration, or subscribe to their enews, visit or email


Pre-Event Welding Workshop Taught by Joe Paczosa

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