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ABANA Survey

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I know we all have some very strong opinions on ABANA. I know I do. There are a bunch of ya'll that probably got the email about the survey they have out right now for ALL blacksmiths to fill out. This goes for non-members, and everyone from the beginner to the artists and professionals....

With the new Board now in their seats and beginning to try and turn ABANA around their first priority is to find the direction they need to go in. ABANA wants to hear from everyone no matter what you have to say: good, bad, or ugly. It is a short survey with good questions and places to add comments.

How can things get better unless we stand up and have our voices heard? Especially when they want to hear us!

To get to the survey go to [ABANA] The Artist Blacksmith's Association of North America, Inc. at the bottom right of the home page is a link to begin the questions. I hope everyone here takes a couple minutes out of their day to do this...together we can help ABANA represent the needs of all of us!


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I just filled it out. I don't have much experience with the national group, but I was a member of the NC ABANA conference once and got nothing out of them, so I left it. I joined again this year, and have learned much from them this time. The biggest problem this time has been getting my schedule to work with theirs!

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I recieved the survey too, emailed to me from my forgemaster at my abana local here in New York. I've been a member of the local affiliate here for a year now but havn't yet joined abana. Why? just procrastination on my part I guess and/or maybe because I really didn't see a need. But therein if you think about it, is reason enough for a beginner like me to join, because of the future. Begining smiths like me ARE the future of abana so maybe it is a good time to join.
The more that I think about it the more I like the idea of joining.
I don't know much about the organisation but I am certainly very greatful that my local affiliate group exists.
It seems to me that those who have been involved for some time have some strong opinions about the organisation, where it is now, where it's been and where it should go in the future.
That said, I think I'll join and with an open mind and an open shop, welcome to all who may be interested in the craft as I am, together we can forge a future worth pursuing.:)Dan.

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ABANA even with all the problems of the past is still a resource I don't think we can afford to lose. Hopefully the new leadership will take to heart the input of those who took the time to fill out the survey. I urge all to do so.

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Let me ask you guys this- What is it ABANA does or offers?

Serious question. While I come from a heavy fabrication/machinist/weldor background, I'm basically a newbie to blacksmithing. Plus, there's not a huge contingent of 'smiths up here- two of the three I'm aware of post to this board already. :D

So besides the magazines- I've read one issue of Ring, and have considered geting a subscription- is there anything they could offer me? (Especially considering my location in Alaska.)


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Abana affiliates ideally meet semi regularly and have local or guest demonstrators and can be a nexus for sharing blacksmithing data. Besides the magazine I am unsure what they could really do for you in Alaska.

If you do decide to do a public demo being an Abana member can help smooth some feathers with the authorities when you decide to set up. (gives em something to google) But that's usually a minor issue. Frankly unless you were willing to travel I am unsure it really buys you much.

I kinda wish they had a discounted price and you could opt to receive the magazines digitally.
I'd pay 25-35 a year for that. 55$ is more than I pay for my SCA membership and at least there I am getting insurance to cover the local group, local calendar, and a society wide publication. Family membership rates also make sense. Father Mother 2 kids It's 220$ to buy membership for for a family of four to abana.

For your situation I'd pay 36$ a year and buy the publication as a bunch of back issues once a year from the store.

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Alaska has a pretty good legion of smiths from what I can tell...there are several on here and I know of one ABANA Board member that is also from Alaska. Maybe Alaska needs a group(if there isn't one yet)? I do understand the huge-ness of the state may raise ssome chalenges there...The Anvil's Ring is a great magazine. The Hammer's Blow is more suited to my speed. It is made for the shop.....plans and how to projects along with great insights from the editor and others in their letters to the editor.

ABANA can only meet the needs of those that speak up with a need. I tell my students all the time that its real hard for me to answer the questions they never ask...

just my $.02

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You raise some interesting and vaild points there Gerald.....I hope you can find it necessary to take the survey(if you haven't yet) to express your concerns directly to the board. The survey has room for us to express our opinions and ideas on ABANA good and bad...I think it can all help bring ABANA into a positive light to represent you and others like you.


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I completed the survey, too. I've been an ABANA member for about 3 years and I enjoy both the mags. I do think I get more from the HB than the AR, but that doesn't detract from the fact that I enjoy looking at a lot of different styles of work. I think it's unfortunate that our national/multinational organization has fallen on hard times for whatever reason(s). I will remain a member, not because of what it can or can't do for me personally, but because it just seems the right thing to do. I hope we can get things fixed and go back to holding quality, affordable, conferences that are appropriate for the majority of the membership. Having said all this, whatever is done to "fix" ABANA, it will never be all things to all people, so there will always be detractors as well as supporters.

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I dropped out of ABANA about 15 years ago (when there were chapters). I didn't like paying an organization to tell me what to do. I haven't seen a reason to join back up. Because they exist isn't a good reason. It was a good idea in the '70's but the world seems to have passed them by. Of course it could be I have a bad attitude and am in a minority. I am after all just a backwoods country blacksmith.


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I think ABANA exist for the main reason of being passed by.
Its the main reason and resource for beginning blacksmiths and the information provided to the affiliates is important .
It seems to me that ABANA is kind of like Elementry , middle, high school ---- once you get to a certain point of education you may not feel that they are needed anymore but you will draw from what you learned there for the rest of your life whether you continue with this craft or not.
I am a member and remain a member primarily to help interested persons that want to begin in this craft and learn untill ABANA and myself become totally redundant to them and then guess what --- there is another crop of beginners comming along right behind them.

Mike Tanner

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I believe I'll add a couple more views here...
When I first discovered the local affiliates here in my state I joined one of them and because of this I have met so many folks I never would have crossed paths with. Without this I would be just another guy with an interest in a craft, on my own and left to my own devices. Association with other smiths brings guidance that otherwise would not exist.
I agree that there is a revolving door of attendance, people join, stay awhile, learn a few things and fade away.
My local has literally dozens and dozens of names on the membership roster but the monthly meetings see only the same dozen or so in attendance, led by the tireless few who have put so much into the group for 25 years.
What can a newbie such as myself offer? Well, if I can bring another newbie in then I feel that I HAVE made a worthy contribution to the whole because we newbies ARE the future.
If I can tweak a famous quote here... "Ask not what your guild can do for you-Ask what you can do for your guild".
Also I have to agree on one point with Mr. Boggs; There needs to be credentials attainable by the membership such as is the case, for example, in the American Farriers Association. Levels of skill are earned by demonstration with titles awarded as judged by worthy peers.
Just my two cents.Dan:)

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I'm reading the posts here about ABANA with great interest. For those of you who
don't know me, I have been appointed to the ABANA Board and attended the Nov.
board meething in Memphis. All of my old ideas about who and what the ABANA
Board is were dispelled, so I have a completely new perspective of the organization.

First, let me say that all of the board members are "Volunteers", that includes those
who were elected. Elected or appointed, is not of any great difference....point is
that we are all volunteers that feel strongly about our responsibility to the ABANA

As for things that have happened in the past with respect to ABANA, well it's just
that, the past. Everyone has their opinion as to what ABANA should have done, or
what ABANA could have done in regard to these past events.

However, now is the present, and we can't go back and fix things in the past. So
where do we go from here, you ask? That's where the ABANA Survey comes in,
and new communications to the Affiliates via the Yahoo group list, and the Blacksmith
Editors group at the Yahoo group list.

The 2008 ABANA Board is hard at work moving forward, listening to the membership,
communicating with the membership, and most importantly of all in my mind is the
fact that this is not just talk. It's about action, getting the ABANA website updated,
working on improving the publications, working on a new model for ABANA Conferences
to make it more affordable, and more accessable.

Yes, there is a lot going on and you can help, if you have a love of the craft and
are thinking about you might do something worthwhile for those how have shared
their time freely with you, so that you could learn about this craft.

I look forward to hearing from you all, and working to improve what ABANA's mission
is, for the benefit of all who love blacksmithing.

Regards to all!

Rome Hutchings, Chair
ABANA Member Services

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Rome, thank you for posting. Glad to see your interest here. The things I have been reading lately and the people I have been hearing from in the midwest point to a real passion on the part of the board to seek input from the membership and make changes necessary to strenghten ABANA.

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