Conference Gallery 

The FABA Conference Gallery is our chance to show each other our best work--kind of a Show-and-Tell for blacksmiths. Please bring your work for all of us to see. Joint efforts are welcome!

Contact us in advance, and we'll highlight your fine forge-work with a special display and lighting in the gallery. Featured work needs to be in the gallery from Friday afternoon by 5 PM until 10 AM on Sunday morning. We'll need to know the size of your work, and whether it is freestanding, wall mounted, or tabletop sized.

Auction

The SATURDAY EVENING Fine Metal Art Live & Silent Auction is a prime fundraising event benefiting the Florida Artist Blacksmith Association.                                                                                           

The Auction begins with a public viewing with many of the artists in attendance. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced smith, we ask each of you to consider donating at least one piece of your work to the auction. Big, small, simple, elaborate–we need it all. For further details please check our Benefit Auction page.

Trade Item Exchange

At the 2013 conference, FABA began the tradition of a Trade Item Exchange. The Trade Item is chosen by the conference chairperson, and it is announced ahead of the conference date. Anyone interested can then make the item, interpreting it through their own imaginations and

skill sets. The participants bring their item to the conference, where all Trade Items will be displayed. The names of all the participants will be placed in a "hat," and each will draw a name. Each participant then gets to take the item made by the person whose name they drew.

This is beneficial to all participating blacksmiths. Everyone has an equal chance of getting any piece, and a beginner may take home a masters work to be inspired by, while someone else takes home the work of an up-and-coming smith!

The 2019 Trade Item is a kitchen implement.  The possibilities are endless--anything that does the job qualifies, whether simple and portable or complex and massive.  Let your imagination run wild!

Iron in the Hat

One blacksmith’s trash is another blacksmith’s treasure!  Iron in the hat is a raffle of donated items. Often the items are things that one is tired of looking at taking up space in the shop. Items vary from antique steam engine gauges to new boxes of welding rod or pieces of saw blade and wrought iron. Blacksmithing-related clothing, books, CD’s and other items are also welcome.

Tickets are $1/1 or $5/5 or $10/15

The Iron in the Hat drawing is scheduled for Saturday at lunch time.  If we receive adequate donations, a second drawing will be held Sunday at noon.

Vendors and Tailgaters

Save your nickels and dimes; you’re guaranteed to find things you just can’t go home without at the conference vendors and tailgate sales.

Have extra blacksmithing equipment you'd like to turn into cash?  Looking to add to your collection?  Either way, the tailgate sales area is not to be missed. The tailgate sales area is located on the east side of the dirt access road, adjacent to the main conference area.

Vehicle access from the main parking lot is around the left side of the hotel building.

Tailgate sellers must be registered as conference participants. There is no extra charge. Just set up in the designated area.

Please note that only demonstrators and registered commercial vendors are permitted to display goods for sale outside the tailgate area.  Contact programs@blacksmithing.org if you have any questions or interested in being a commercial vendor at the conference.

Family Area

This year’s FABA CONFERENCE is once again hosting activities in the “Family Area”

In this dedicated area we will be offering a variety of activities to inspire all age groups and families to play together. Activity schedule will be posted daily on the activities board by the registration tent. Some activities will be free, while others might have a nominal charge payable directly to the instructor or activity host. No pre-registration or prior experience is necessary. Spots are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Planned activities

Basket weaving

Leather knife-sheath making

Jewelry Making

Tin-Can roses with John Boy

Camp – Smithy

Youth & Family teaching area focusing on specific projects

Forging Competitions

Friday evening forging competitions for individuals and smith/striker teams to test their speed and accuracy for prizes.

There will be one team contest, and one or two individual forging contests.

Come prepared to sweat! Or grab a chair and watch somebody else sweat!

Bring your favorite hammer. Stock will be provided.

Seminars

Something new this year. Complimentary workshops and lectures on a variety of different subjects.

Learn about the reasons, why successful blacksmiths put equal emphasis on design, drawing and execution. Get some insider tips on how to get better at it.

Find out what you need to do to become a journeyman blacksmith.

You may bring some of your recently completed work to demonstrate your acquired skills and get credit.

Do you aspire to sell your forged masterpieces online? Learn how to take pictures that say a thousand words and do the job for you.

Open Forges

Want to try out a technique you saw demonstrated?  Or finish a project you started during a class?  Stop by the Open Forge tent and get started.  You'll find forges, anvils, and friendly, helpful, experienced blacksmiths.

Open Forges will be available for self-guided work on Friday and Saturday. If equipment and manpower will be available, we might extend to the morning hours on Sunday.

Use of the Open Forges area is available to registered conference participants.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Users must provide their own stock and tools.

If this is your first conference and/or you've never hit hot metal before, please take a class or two before using the open forges. Open forges are NOT a class. We expect you to know basic blacksmithing skills and safety precautions for working around hot metal.

Safety is a concern when dealing with metal often in excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. No synthetic fiber clothing! Synthetics melt, stick to your skin, and burn you! Natural fibers only!  In Florida, that means wear cotton. Jeans and a long sleeve cotton shirt are suggested, most of us wear jeans and a cotton t-shirt. Wear shorts at your own risk, they are not recommended. Closed toe shoes are required; we recommend high top boots. If you show up in flip -flops we will ask you to change your shoes before entering the forging areas. A hat or a bandanna to hold up long hair and keep the soot off your head is desirable. Gloves and a leather or heavy canvas apron are optional depending upon personal preference.

Safety glasses must always be worn in the forging areas.  Earplugs are highly recommended.  If you have your own, great!  If not, they’re available at many stores, and will be for sale at the conference.

FABA History Project

FABA members are invited to record their blacksmithing memories with a friend or loved one or with FABA historians. Young or old, great endeavors or small, take the time to bring FABA to life. Opportunities for up to one-hour interviews will be available Friday afternoon or all-day Saturday. Schedule an interview with Jennifer Jhon at editor@blacksmithing.org or by phone 954-328-6704.


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