ABANA was born in 1973 when a Blacksmiths’ Convention was held in Georgia which was attended by 47 delegates from all over the country. Late on the first night of the conference, after the day’s formal proceedings had ended, a group of blacksmith artists got together for an informal chat and the subject turned to the benefits of sharing knowledge and experiences between themselves. There were about eight people in the group and for each one who gave the others some useful hint or tip that helped the others improve their art, at least 7 useful bits of information were given in return. At the end of the discussion, one of the members returned to his room but could not get to sleep as the germ of an idea about forming a regular association of blacksmith artists was taking shape in his mind. Not wanting to let in go, he started writing down his ideas and before going to sleep in the early hours of the morning, had the basic outline of how the association would be structured and operate.
The next day, as the convention was breaking for lunch the proposal for starting an artist blacksmith’s association was conveyed to the participants. The words of Alex Bealer, who convened the 1973 convention and who became the first president of ABANA, as gave an extremely insipiring sppech, which can be found in the ABANA website.
This moving expression of the nature of the blacksmith art was enough to immediately prompt 20 of those present to become the founding members of the organization. 27 more joined soon after and within a year membership stood at over 100 and in ten years reached over 2000. At present the membership is increasing by over 300 a year which demonstrates both the growth of blacksmith art and the vital role that ABANA is playing in supporting and developing the artist blacksmith.
ABANA Chapters have mushroomed in various parts of the US and is only growing in popularity. Moreover its spreading to other countries as well. In fact the latest of ABANA’s affliliate group is an Australian counterpart. All informtation about the ABANA can also be found at their website online.