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Cyber Smiths Int.
Edition 40 - Page 41 of 41 July 27, 2006
Impressions: ABANA Conference
Seattle, WA 2006 - by Frank Turley
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Outside, there were seven demonstration sites, each having a pavillion and bleachers. Each demonstrator had a clip-on mike. I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with the Aussie group, many of whom I knew. As usual, there was overkill, so we couldn't be everywhere at once. I saw portions of Nahum Hersom's repoussť, Mark Aspery's slit-drifting and hammer control, and Melic Dadayan's bossed up and chased repoussť. Yoshindo Yoshihara was mixing clay for application to a blade , and the translator was holding forth without a microphone, so I did not spend much time at Yoshindo's work station. Lee Dae Won, the Korean, was working like a contemporary Westerner, but with his personal Korean design elements. I missed seeing the demonstration of Francisco Gazitua of Santiago, Chile. His large sculptures are well known in our field of endeavor, and he gathered quite a crowd when he was working. I had a brief sojourn at Dorothy Stiegler's work station.

Because of my personal interest, I spent Friday afternoon watching Porfirio Ricardez of Oaxaca, Mexico. Ricardez had some ornamental hardware and forged elements displayed on a table, all very much in the Hispanic tradition. One of the elements was a claraboya, where say, a 5/8" square bar bifurcates into two 5/8" square bars, and all is installed on the diamond. The joint goes together with a nice, uniform "vanishing point" at the center. It turned out to be a fagot weld with the bar ends having blunt, short spear-like tapers. The ends were hot punched and riveted together to fix them in place prior to welding. Some of the work is done over a vee swage to protect the corners of the piece. There were at least three persons there conversant with the Spanish language. One was the translator with microphone who had spent nine months in Oaxaca with the Ricardez brothers at their shop. Another was Alfonso Albacete of Beaumont, Texas, and also Jim Clary of California. They were all helpful as well as Colin Dray of Australia who aided in getting the swage made. The vee swage widened slightly toward the worker's side. In the spiral bound conference program, the claraboya design is pictured on page 38. The motif had Gothic origins and was a common module in 15th century Spain, and before. In Mexico, the claraboya continued to be made right into the present.

Alfred "Call me Freddie" Habermann showed slides. I did not see Habermann working, but my wife, Juanita, and I had a nice reunion with him. He had stayed with us a few days in Santa Fe in 1982, during his first trip to the U.S. At that time, the SWABA found that I spoke a rather rusty form of German, so I was elected to be his host and part-time translator. Habermann tells us that there will be a huge celebration of smithcraft, titled Ferraculum, in his town of residence, Ybbsitz, Austria, in June of 2008.

Habermann had two hard back books with him. One was an overview of his work, Alfred Habermann Schmied und Gestalter Blacksmith and Designer, published in 1999. The book is in both German and English with many black and white photos. ISBN 3-931951-08-1

The other is a smallish catalog of a "distinguished show 2006". The title is Die Welt ein Amboss (The World an anvil). It is in German except for an English appendix, a biography of Habermann. There is a series of color photos throughout showing the development of a lengthy, ornamental corkscrew. The young, bearded striker/translator in the book is Christoph Mittermeyer, a personable young man who was present in Seattle. ISBN 3-901819-54-1

I enjoyed seeing my many "grad students", old friends, and acquaintances, too many to list here.

Frank Turley Turley's Forge Blacksmithing School space space
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Number one blacksmith site. July 27, 2006
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