The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA)


ABANA is dedicated to perpetuating the noble art of blacksmithing. A blacksmith is one who shapes and forges iron with hammer and anvil. ABANA encourages and facilitates the training of blacksmiths; disseminates information about sources of material and equipment; exposes the art of blacksmithing to the public; serves as a center of information about blacksmithing for the general public, architects, interior designers, and other interested parties.

Anvil's Ring Editor - Valerie Ostenak

Valerie Ostenak

Whether you're the artist blacksmith who designs and builds site specific sculpture or the smith who loves to tinker in the garage on the weekends, the necessity of more tools is the one thing that we can all agree on. And what we love to collect!

I have lots of toolboxes. Being a blacksmith and a silversmith, my toolboxes are separated for ferrous and nonferrous . . . gotta keep the mirror-polished hammers, anvils, and stakes for working silver protected in socks! Then there's the totally different toolbox of the two–dimensional graphic design work. Computers and software are the tools of the trade these days for that toolbox.

When I took my first metalsmithing class in college to make my wedding rings, I realized I was inextricably tied to metal. Lost wax casting was my process of choice because I could take all my scrap silver and gold, melt it with oxy-acetylene torches, and create something new and useful out of it. And the vertical casting machine was a trip!

Ten years later I took my first blacksmithing class at Cal State Long Beach. The smell of the coal fire was like a heady perfume and the concept of taking scrap and creating something new and beautiful took on a whole new life. I loved hammering! A whole new set of tools was required too!

To support the desire for tools and metal, I took my art and design training and put it to use working for 25 years as a graphic designer. I worked setting type, illustrating aerospace components and electrical schematics for military systems; designing and building college and elementary school textbooks, magazines and programs for various entities from real estate to marathons; and managing the graphics departments at publishing companies.

Over the years those graphic design tools have changed tremendously. From rapidograph pens and clunky typesetting machines to sleek computers with the latest illustration, design, and layout software. When the opportunity to be the editor/designer of the Anvil's Ring presented itself, I jumped on it. It's the perfect way to meld my love of metal with my love of graphic design.

And it's a great excuse to upgrade to the latest version of design software and add more DRAM . . . it's still all about the tools!

Valerie Ostenak
2312 W. Muirfield Dr.
Anthem, AZ 85086