The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America (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.

ABANA 2018 Conference

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Conference Division

The ABANA 2012 Conference was held at the
Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City, South Dakota
      July 18-21, 2012

Come visit the Black Hills

Opening ceremonies will be on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at the Central States Fairgrounds. We will also use some facilities at the adjacent South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for lectures and a focused exhibit at the Apex gallery on campus.

Conference Schedule of Events

Conference Schedule

Thursday through Saturday will be full days of forging demonstrations and excitement ABANA style. Saturday will conclude with a banquet and the conference auction. The site is within a few miles of thousands of reasonably priced hotel rooms and amazing family recreation opportunities. Camping and RV hook-ups will be available on site. Dorm room accomodations will be available to allow conference attendees. Stay tuned for additional announcements.

Our theme is:

"Reunion on the Great Plains."

Conference Logo

This refers to several sorts of coming together.

We want to embrace the community of metalworkers in all their diversity:
In terms of crafts person and fine artist,
In terms of hobbyist and professional,
In terms of affiliate members and those unaffiliated, and
In terms of the several sub-groups with specialized interests:
   Including architectural blacksmiths, bladesmiths, and farriers

The image is that of the ABANA conference as an umbrella or as a circus tent that enables a coming together of these several elements.

To make these notions real we plan several tracks with a number of related demonstrations in each. Those particularly interested in that track can come and enjoy a concentrated experience in that area. Others may want to sample offerings from different tracks.

ABANA 2012 Conference

Conference Logo

Central States Fairgrounds


JULY 18-21, 2012


Claudio Bottero will be working by hand and power hammer with a team of blacksmiths to create a large sculpture.

Punzo Family Coppersmiths will take scrap copper and turn it into beautiful copper vessels. All work is done by hand with very few tools.

Håvard Bergland will make a true Viking Axe. Håvard’s book, that has been translated into English, will be for sale.

Patient Order of Meticulous Metalsmiths will be making a Scandinavian style door with custom engraved hardware. They will be available to answer questions as they work

Becky Little will create a coat rack with her whimsical style. I cannot wait to see what else she has prepared for us!

Brian Brazeal and his assistant Lyle Wynn will do some hard hitting to make hammers and tooling.

The Smelt Team - Lee Sauder, Steve Mankowski, Shel Browder will be building a furnace on site. The first smelt will be on Thursday along with a talk about theory on site. Friday will be the second smelt. The first bloom will be transformed in to sculptural piece; the second one will be made into steel and forged into an axe.  Two smelts will give everyone a chance to see the process.

Knife Makers will demo:

  Making and patterning a damascus billet,

  Making Mokume Gane ( Copper, Brass, Nickel Silver )

  They will be demonstrating other interesting and exciting variations of knives.

Teaching Station

Mark Aspery, Darryl Nelson and Gerald Boggs have the teaching station well staffed.The guys will be instructing the National Curriculum along with other projects.


Nathan Robertson will be hosting a hammer making class, each participant will take home a hammer. There is an additional fee for this class.

Programs / Lectures

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will put on seminars at the school. ALL classes will be free of charge and sponsored by Nucor Steel. Limited enrollment and pre-registration suggested. Smith Busting: The Science of Blacksmithing. Steel Making for the Non-Metallurgist. Student Success Stories: Examples of successful student projects from SDSMT. This will be hands on and will highlight the making of a Samurai sword and a furnace. Drawing, Creative Visualization: From Cocktail Napkin to CAD A tour of SDSMT Metallurgy department will be offered. Ellen Durkan will talk on her work and drawings that are in the Apex Gallery.

The John Deere Historic Site director will give a talk about John Deere the blacksmith and their upcoming event.

Slide Shows

There will be slide shows with demonstrator talks.

Poster Contest

We will also have a poster gallery of all the Poster Contest entries.


German Braided Rug Weaving Class

Quilt Magic Class (No Sewing Required)

German Braided Rug Weaving Class

“Kanzashi” Japanese Folded Fabric Flowers Class

Basket Weaving Class

Local sight seeing tours will arranged if needed.


The Conference Gallery will be open to the public to showcase the work of our members.

There will be a Walk-In Gallery area along with a business card exchange table and portfolio table.

The Apex Gallery at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will have a gallery reception on July 17, 2012.

Ellen Durkan from Delaware will be the featured artist.


Indoor and outdoor vendors with those hard to find tools and wares will be selling hard to find tools and equipment.


An area of the parking lot will be set aside for tailgating. Please register to tailgate.


ABANA has made arrangements with local hotels and the School of Mines for special rates for lodging.

The fairgrounds offers onsite camping for those who wish to camp.


Registration Fee - $275 Per Person.

$50 discount for ABANA members - $225 Per Member

Family members - $25, spouse, child under 16.

Saturday Banquet Dinner included.

Don't miss it: Register Now

From the Conference Committee

We are excitedly looking forward to the upcoming Conference to be held in Rapid City South Dakota on July 18th to the 21st in 2012. Rapid City is on the Eastern edge of the Black Hills, near Sturgis.

The location will be a shared situation between the South Dakota School of Mines and the Central States Fair Grounds. Amenities from both locations include ample demonstration areas, classrooms, eating/lounging areas, Gallery areas, and Dorm /camping/RV is available. Costs and program will be determined later.

The Black Hills offer many other recreational opportunities which are family oriented so bring the whole family and plan on staying awhile.



See you in Rapid City,

Jack Parks
2012 Conference Co-Chair