The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA)
2014 Conference Demonstrators
Antonio Diaz Garcia - Sculptor - Spain
Born in Spain in 1949, Antonio Díaz García is a sculptor who works in iron and whose highly personal conception of art has led him with urgent necessity to give shape to an unexplored cluster of mixed ideas, producing forms out of a vacuum. Accurately portraying the profile of his own emotions, the sculptor explores the hidden paths between matter in order to highlight voids, gaps and empty spaces, inviting the viewer to fill them using their imagination.
A technique that defines the artist's work is the deformation of matter. He gives life to something powerful and exciting, to mysterious works, which tend to reflect their deep passions through a complex set of empty surfaces and elaborate details. With admirable visual eloquence, both his small and large-scale creations are relentless, inescapable and compelling, created using an emphatic and unmistakable method, which do not aspire to be decoded, just intuited.
Antonio makes his large scale sculptures using industrial forge presses capabale of exerting thousands of tons of pressure. For his demonstrations at the conference, Antonio will be forging two small scale sculptures using a forge press (owned by local blacksmith and conference demonstrator Matt Harris) capable of exerting 200 tons of pressure.
To see more of his work, visit Antonio's Website:
Antonio Diaz Garcia
Francisco Gazitua - Blacksmith - Chile
Francisco Gazitua completed his training in Chile, as a sculptor-assistant, Lily Garafulic sculptors, Marta Colvin and Samuel Román England, Tim Scott, Philip King and Anthony Caro. He was professor of sculpture, for 6 years at St Martins School of Arts London (1979 -1985) Has been the creator of three schools of sculpture: Kornaria, Istria (Croatia), the department Sculpture at the Universidad Finis earthy (Santiago, Chile) and the Workshop School (Santiago, Chile) He has authored numerous publications in history and theory of sculpture Her theoretical and practical discussion focuses on the role of materiality in the sculptural language Has organized in Chile fifteen international sculpture symposia.
His sculptural practice as its main objective the production of large-scale works for public space, steel, wood and stone, for it has formed a large workshop in quarry located at the foot of the Andes in central Chile where it, along with his assistants, build and assemble their work and then be stationed in different cities of Chile and World: England, Holland, Sweden, Canada, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands. He has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in major galleries and museums in Chile, Canada, England, Germany, USA, Mexico and other countries Associate Member of the Academie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux Arts de Belgique, replacement of the British sculptor Lynn Chadwick (2007).
Francisco, assisted by his son Manuel Hubner shown here on right, and 3 US smiths, will be forging 8 pieces each joined to the other with unique joints to form "CRUZ DEL SUR" (the Southern Cross) a sculpture approximately 900 mm high (~ 3 FT)
To the left are the photos of the 8 parts of the Sculpture and a view of it partially assembled
To the right are two photos of the Sculpture and views of it assembled"CRUZ DEL SUR" (the Southern Cross) a sculpture approximately 900 mm high (~ 3 FT)
Here is a picture of the Horse that Francisco forged at the 2006 ABANA Conference in Seattle Washington
For more information on Francisco visit his website: Francisco Gazitua
Jiří Baťa - Blacksmith - Czech Republic
Jiří Baťa was born in 1961 and now lives in the Bohuňovice village, 13 km north of Olomouc.
In the Skrbeň farm, he helped at the forge of smith Master Jan Strnad who came from an old blacksmith family. During repairs of plows, harrows and other agricultural machinery and implements Jiří began to gradually penetrate into the mysteries and beauties of working with iron and steel in the extreme environment of agricultural production.
Several years of horse shoeing, agricultural smithing and lock smithing led Jiří to want his own blacksmithing business. He began working in heartistic blacksmith shop in Olomouc together with Ilja and Jiří Běhal and with other friends. He also enrolled to study in Luhačovice in the local Apprentice School. After two years, distance learning study finally got an apprenticeship as a blacksmith. Then in 1995 he went to Italy and helped the Italian iron sculptor Master Toni Benetton on his latest sculpture which was made for the city Treviso. Toni was making it with his son prof. Simon Benetton.
More than a month in the workshop of master Benetton completely changed Jiří s view both on the blacksmith work and also his present view on life. Toni Benetton was a true giant among artists. His amazing professional experiences and individual life attitudes which Mr. Baťa had the opportunity to learn influence his life to this day. It can be said that during years more and more. Mr. Baťa evaluates each of his completed works from the master Benetton perspective. What would he say? How would he like it? What would he criticized ... Even after years he still feels tremendous respect. In 1998 Jiří opened his own practice in Buhunovice. He began to work more closely with foreign blacksmiths and tried to apply his own concepts during processing of iron. How the work will correspond to modern architecture and modern ideas of elegance and harmony. He lays stress on the processing and plasticity of iron which emphasizes its beauty and creativity and provides its specific characteristics. Innovative and remote standard routine solutions, solutions possible only from the strong and resilient material which is also flexible and has its own charisma. As Master Benetton used to say, "What is possible to invent and draw, it is possible also to make."
Perhaps the most important criterion of his work is that the final product should be "alive" and have its own soul. Mr. Baťa decided to sign up for Master School of Applied Arts in Prague for further increase his proficiency. He was accepted on 4th September 2004 and in 2007 he successfully completed this study with final Master examination. He received the European certificate and the title "Master of artistic craft, specialization art blacksmith and locksmith with possibility of restoring".
To keep blacksmith craft at a high level is generally very expensive and time consuming and requires total commitment. It is an ancient craft that requires strength, craftsmanship, and high professional knowledge of other related crafts, knowledge of history, general knowledge and skills, creativity and imagination. For implementation of forged works is necessary to have not only talent but also manual dexterity which can be obtained only after years of hard practice. The ability to imprint the material with shape and soul by your will demands courage and heart of a warrior. For his further professional development and use of new, creative energy and motivation Mr. Baťa annually participates in various blacksmith events and symposiums in Europe but especially HEFAISTON – blacksmith event at the Helfštýn castle not far from his workshop.
"I do not know any other crafts or communities," says Mr. Jiří Bata, " where people meet each other so often and in such numbers as blacksmiths. We cooperate and assist each other. We are like one big international family."
He established friendly cooperation with many other artistic blacksmiths in the world and he is in constant contact with them. These friendships without borders are very important to him. They motivate him and help in his further development. They keep him opened and accessible to new ideas and are a source of energy for the next game. Blacksmiths from all over the world are visiting him and learning from him. Mr. Baťa hands down to them what he learned in his thirty years of experience.
Jiří Baťa will be assisted by Andrew Molinaro and his team from Artisan's of the Anvil in Stroudsburg, PA
left to Right: Chris Loscar, Patrick Weiss, Andrew Molinaro, Paul Janusz and Ryan Caldwell.
The sculpture, inspired by the ancient era of Native American culture, is a framework symbolizing the spirit of the teepee.
Jiří will forge this sculpture assisted by the team from Andrew Molinaro’s Artisans of the Anvil doing team striking to forge the elements.
Jiří was looking for something to symbolism the history of the Eastern United States. This work is also designed with the idea that a number of blacksmiths could work on it. The work is not very complex, but everyone can have their part in the final work under Jiří's direction.
Anatolly Rudick - Blacksmith - Ukraine
Anatolly Rudick and Bruce Jarrell
Anatoliy Rudik is a noted blacksmith who practices iron work in Kiev, Ukraine and travels around the world to demonstrate the craft. He is also an organizer and contributor to the Ivano-Frankivsk ironwork festival held annually in Ukraine. He has developed many associations in the Maryland/Virginia region through a relationship which Arlington Virginia developed with Ivano-Frankivsk, making it a Sister City with Arlington. This relationship has resulted in a cultural and artistic exchange between the US and Ukraine, making Anatoliy a regular visitor. He works regularly at the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac, as well as with Eric Zieg, a blacksmith at Mount Vernon, to demonstrate traditional early American ironwork. Anatoliy is particularly known for his creation of natural plants in iron, using a combination of traditional blacksmithing, power hammer work, and modern arc welding to produce realistic plant branches, leaves and flowers. In addition, he has been a guest of Bruce Jarrell, an amateur blacksmith in Maryland and a member of the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Smiths Association. Anatoliy and Bruce have done several large projects together, and have recently collaborated to develop methods and tools to reproduce early American classical furniture styles in iron. These techniques, designs, and tools necessary to create them will be the main topic of the demonstration at the ABANA Conference.
Punzo Family - Copper/Silver Smiths - Mexico
The Punzo family contains two of the best known copper and silver smiths located in Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico. The family descends from copper smith Carlos Punzo Córdoba. The two main smiths today are brothers Abdón Punzo Ángel and Ignacio Punzo Ángel, each of whom has his own workshop in which their sons and grandsons work and learn the craft of working copper and silver.
Members of the Punzo Chavez Family who will be at the conference are:
J Audon Punzo Angel, Argelia Chavez Cazares, Carlos Punzo Chavez, Jose Abdon Punzo Chavez, and Marcos Punzo Chavez
These skilled Coppersmiths will take scrap copper and turn it into beautiful copper vessels. All work is done by hand with very few tools.
For more pictures of them and their work visit: Punzo Family Copper in Rapid City 2012
Matt Harris - Blacksmith - Perryville, MD and Michael Robear - Artist - Colora, MD
Matt and Michael will team together to create a 6 to 7 foot sculpture "Burning Anvil" focused on joinery and that incorporates an original egg tempera painting by Michael.
Matt brings with him 18 years of Blacksmith experience that began at age 16 with a 4 year traditional apprenticeship with Master Blacksmith Alphonsus Moolenschot from the Netherlands, work experience forging early American and European hardware at the Michael Coldren Co where his friendship and collaboration with Michael began, and in his own studio for the last 8 years creating sculptural and architectural metalwork throughout the United States, including a recent monumental piece "Undulate" weighing 3-1/2 tons.
Michael brings with him his formal art training and his over 20 years experience in blacksmithing including his long term employment at he Michael Coldren Co working as a professional Historic Architectural Smith for over 20 years. Michael's passion for Art and for blacksmithing is evident in his recent exhibition at Corcoran Galley 31 in Dec of 2012, with forged metal frames that not only surround his paintings but that reflect and extend the subject of the painting.
The photos below show Matt and Michael worked together during Matt's 5th Annual Hammer-In in Oct 2012 on a small sculpture titled - The Gift (The Scarab beetle in the sculpture is forged and repousse' copper), Them beside the sclupture in the Corcoran Gallery, The Gift, and 2 photos of Matt's first large scale sclupture "Undulate"
For more information on Matt Harris visit his website: Harris Metalsmith Studio
For more information on Michael Robear visit his website: Michael Robear
Brett Moten - Blacksmith - Reno, NV assisted by
Dennis Dusek - Blacksmith - Placerville CA
Dennis Dusek and Brett Moten
Brett assisted by Dennis will be demonstrating a table sized oil lamp using the unique Hybrid Tension Joint that Brett developed for the wrought Iron Rocking Chair that he forged with Tim Cisneros. The rocking chair and a close up of this joint are shown below along with a picture of Dennis Striking for Brett.
For more information on Brett Moten visit his website: Infinity Forge
For more information on Dennis Dusek visit his website: Dennis Dusek Artistic Blacksmith or Vineyard Blacksmith
Mike Smyth Boone - Blacksmith - Paonia, CO
"The artist blacksmith has a unique variety of forging techniques that are specific to the craft of blacksmithing. Forged textures, joinery, forge welding, and the ability to transform metal are some examples. In my work, I highlight these many techniques through composition and execution of a project. The resulting effect expresses harmony of design and function with regard to the integrity of the medium."
Smyth Boone is an eighteenth generation blacksmith - a family legacy that goes back to the time of the Vikings and includes noted explorer Daniel Boone.
Smyth has been forging for over twenty two years creating large architectural commissions, teaching the art and craft of blacksmithing internationally, displaying work in invitational art exhibits and has recently launched a successful international hand-forged product line, Boone's Hooks. Smyth has published works in numerous books, periodicals, and on the internet. “In my demonstrations I like to create and build a design that is a vehicle for teaching as many forging and business techniques and processes that are appropriate for the audience and achievable.
My demonstration technique allows for a nice conversational situation which helps viewers communicate, connect and also helps to generate questions and answers that enlighten everyone attending. Plenty of time and energy emphasize the design process, forging, finishing, and completion. Attention is also given to the process of fulfilling a clients’ vision, using professional drawing techniques, designing with the Golden Mean, engineering and fitting architectural forgings. ”
Blacksmiths forging blacksmiths, a story of life.
Mike will be forging a number of his “Forged-Figures” working in their scaled version of a blacksmith shop forging the next generation of blacksmiths. The sculpture will be an excellent vehicle for numerous forging techniques and processes and will hopefully encourage an interesting philosophical discussion.
Examples of his forged metal figures and other work are shown below.
For more information on M Smyth Boone visit his website: Boone's Hooks
Jeffrey Funk - Blacksmith - Big Fork, MT assisted by:
Rachel David - Blacksmith - New Orleans, LA
Jeffrey assisted by Rachel will do a series of demos
Joinery: From the traditional to the whimsical
Historically iron has always been used by mankind in relation to other materials, especially wood and stone. This series of demonstrations will explore a variety of methods for joining iron to iron, iron to wood, iron to stone, and wood to stone. I’ll show an unusual application of forge welding to develop pattern and form, demonstrate a very functional way of joining iron and steel by means of tapers that don’t require machine work, forge an adze eyed double ended hoe and mount it to a reverse tapered wooden handle, and mount iron into stone heated to a malleable state. One demonstration piece will include the use of silver to join iron to iron, which is a versatile and strong technique not commonly used by blacksmiths. As well, I’ll demonstrate a few ways that iron can be mounted to wooden handles including square tapers, reverse tapers (like the hoe), and the hourglass form. Participants can also expect to see a ceremonial axe forged from stone and hafted to a wooden handle. Depending on the time allotted for these demonstrations, I also will make and mount a double diagonal cross peen hammer and a pitchfork.
Rachel will lead at least one demo session which will highlight her unique skills and approach to joinery in her work.
Some of Rachel's Recent work:
For more information on Jeffrey Funk visit his website: Jeffrey Funk: Metalworker
For more information on Rachel David visit her website: Rachel David: Red Metal
Daniel Miller - Blacksmith - Waynesville, NC assisted by:
Eric Dewey - Blacksmith - Bozman, MT
Daniel assisted by Eric will be forging a Fireplace set using a Flypress and tooling to forge his unique style of joinery where the joining material is forged from the two elements being joined. He refers to this as "embracing joinery". Pictures of the Fireplace Set are shown below. Eric will also demo a Universal Joint seen in the Candelabra below
For more information on Daniel Miller visit his website: Daniel Miller: Metalsmith
For more information on Eric Dewey visit his website: Desperado Forge
Roberta Elliott - Blacksmith - Cobden, IL
Roberta's passion in blacksmithing is forging pipe and forge welding. She will demonstrate several combinations of these that she developed.
She will demonstrate forging a “dysfunctional spoon” out of 3/4” pipe. Forge welding the top into a ruffled strap which is pierced by a taper. The central stem is made by forge welding out the hole, then forging it to length. The business end is flattened and welded together, punched and drifted to form the hole.
She will demonstrate forging a sconce for flowers. The vase part is forged from 2” pipe. The bottom is forge welded into a decorative element. The bracket is forged from 1/4”x1” strap which is ruffled on one end and forged to a taper that wraps and cradles the pipe.
Surface Textured Vase
She will demonstrate forge welding fireplace curtain onto the surface of pipe then forge that into a vase.
She will demonstrate forging pipe into a “pod”, from her seed pod series. This involves forging out the center hole to form a stem, flattening the tip, which is punched and drifted into a loop. She will drift a hole in the body of the pipe, and close off the bottom end for a base. The loop is then looped over the body. She will patina the piece with the abrasive brass finish.
For more information on Roberta Elliott visit her website: The Velvet Hammer
Joseph Szilaski - ABS Master Bladesmith - Pine Plains, NY
Joe will be forging a Tomahawk and a Knife. Joe will demonstrate his unique approach to forging a blade as he demonstrates.
Here are examples of his work:
For more information on Joseph Szilaski visit his website: Joseph Szilaski Custom Knives and Tomahawks
East Coast Joins West Coast:
Baltimore Knife and Sword - Marriottsville, MD
Front: Kerry Stagmer - Swordsmith, Silversmith
Matt Stagmer - Bladesmith, Master Grinder
Back: Sam Salvati - Bladesmith, Blacksmith
John Patrick Mitchell - Swordsmith
Ilya Alekseyev- Swordsmith, Armourer
Some samples of their work:
The Sword and the Stone - Burbank, CA
Tony Swatton - Bladesmith
Some examples of Tony's Work:
Tony, Kerry, and his team will forge weld and forge to shape several pattern welded blades. They will also forge one or more homogenous steel blades. They will demonstrate both flat grinding and hollow grinding techniques. They will demonstrate heat treating and tempering. Tony will forge to shape bronze and iron hilts and pommels and make horn and wooden grips with wire inlays. They will take requests from several conference attendees and create whatever edged tool is requested. They plan to complete as many finished swords, knives, and other edged tools as time permits.
For more information on Kerry Stagmer visit his website: Baltimore Knife and Sword
For more information on Tony Swatton visit his website: The Sword and the Stone
Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmiths:
Ken Schwarz - Master Blacksmith - Colonial Williamsburg, VA and
The Anderson Blacksmith Shop Blacksmiths
Ken and his team of smiths from the Anderson Blacksmith Shop plan to forge a scale model of a large 18th century church weathervane based on examples from Virginia.
The Anderson Blacksmith Shop Team - Left to Right Steve Mankowski, journeyman, Chris Henkels, journeyman, Seth Herbert, apprentice, Mark Sperry, journeyman, Aislinn Lewis, apprentice, and Ken Schwarz, master of the shop
Steve Mankowski will lead the team including Chris Henkels, Mark Sperry, and Aislinn Lewis
The team will be forging a scale model of a Church Weathervane based on several 18th century examples
Below is the practice Weathervane they forged in Colonial Williamsburg and two in process photos
For more information on the Colonial Williamsburg's Anderson Blacksmith Shop visit the website: The Anderson Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury
Lee Sauder - Lexington, VA
Lee and his Smelt Team will be building a furnace on site, doing an Iron smelt and forging something from the bloom.
Patient Order of Meticulous Metalsmiths:
Tom Latane - WI Peter Renzetti - DE Michael McCarthy - NY Tina Chisena - MD
Carl Close Jr - MA Kevin Clancy - MD Paul Spaulding - NY Ernie Dorrill - MS
The Patient Order will forge and assemble parts at the conference to create a working coffee mill. Components of the mill will be joined using wedged, threaded and, peined tenons, dovetails, rivets, and forge brazing. The design was inspired by seventeenth century examples. They will be available to answer questions as they work
At this year's Conference we will be expanding the opportunies for attendees to take a hands on class from one of four instructors:
Mark Aspery, Darryl Nelson, Gerald Boggs, and John McLellan
There will be a separate demonstration area with bleachers to allow more attndees to watch the demonstrations and 2 separate teaching areas with 8 to 10 forging stations in each area. The result will be 16 three to four hour "hands-on" teaching sessions throughtout the conference. With each of the four instructors leading 4 separate sessions.
In addition, on Wednesday evening, following a joint demo by the instructors, all four instructors will lead a beginners class in both teaching areas allowing 16 to 20 students to take a beginner's class. The actual number will depend on the actual number of teaching stations we can set up in the two teaching areas.
Mark Aspery - CA
Mark will be teaching: Punching and drifting, Hand tools, and Forge Welding
Darryl Nelson - WA
Darryl will be teaching: Rams Head Cheese Slicer and Whelk (sea shell) Caviar /Pate Spreader
Gerald Boggs - VA
Gerald will be teaching: Wizard Bottle Opener and the forging of Corkscrews
John McLellan - CA
John will be teaching: Basic Tongs and the Level 1 Grill