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  • April 30, 2020
  • May 02, 2020
  • Ferndale, CA


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

"Beginner to Artist"

Joe Koches Memorial Conference

***Event is cancelled for public safety reasons

DATE: April 30- May 2, 2020

LOCATION: Ferndale, CA

FLYER: SC2010 flyer.pdf

NOTE: The conference team is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely. At this time all of our demonstrators are healthy and are planning to participate in Joe's Conference. We are also developing backup plans just in case.

To help keep our members safe, we will have hand sanitizing stations near registration and in the food serving areas. We will be following the guidelines from the CDC and county health authorities.

If you have been exposed or have symptoms please contact the Conference Registrar ( We’d rather issue a refund than have someone contagious at the conference.


Conference Fees
Schedule And Site Map
Getting There And Lodging
Education / Hands On


     On-line registration opens January 15, 2020.

     On-line registration closes Friday, 4/24, at 11:59 PM.

     Early registration closes Friday, 4/3, at 11:59 PM.

View Bigger Picture


If you'd rather register by mailing a check, download one of these forms, print it, fill it out, attach a check and mail it in. 

Mail-in Registration Form for CBA Members - SC2020_registration_form_r1-members.pdf

Mail-in Registration Form for Members of other groups - SC2020_registration_form_r1-others.pdf

For questions contact Craig Litwin at  (707) 634-6132 or

CONTACT & GENERAL CHAIRMAN:  Conference co-chairmen are Paul Boulay and Mike Bondi.


Wednesday, 29 April – 3 PM – 6 PM Pre Conference Registration Check-in.

(Note: Unless you are a staff member for this conference, please keep out of the main fairgrounds area before 3 PM on Wednesday. We will be setting everything up with forklift traffic and other potentially hazardous situations.)

Thursday 30 April – 8 AM Conference opens

Saturday 2 May – 10 PM Conference closes

See full schedule document: 2020 Spring Conference Schedule


Pdf version: Site-map.pdf


 Conference Fees  Before April 3, 2020
 After April 3, 2020
 Full Conference   $229  $255
 Single  Day  $125  $135
 Saturday Banquet Dinner Ticket  $27  $27

Members with a Family Membership can register up to two additional family members as conference participants at half price. Individuals registered as guests must be listed on your CBA family membership and be part of the same household. For larger families please contact Craig Litwin at 707/634-6132 or

Members with Business Membership can sign up unlimited number of business associates at full price.

Members of ABANA or ABANA-affiliated blacksmith organizations who want to attend Spring Conference 2019 need to purchase Event Only Temporary membership prior to registering for the event. Get Event Only Temporary membership.

Non-participating attendees - family members and friends - free.


You will be able to choose the following meal plans during the registration process.

*Meal plans can only be purchased until April 15.

Full Conference meal plans include Breakfast Buffet, Box Lunches, and Dinner on Friday and the Saturday Banquet. No breakfast plans omit the breakfast buffet for those staying in hotels or B&Bs that provide breakfast. On Thursday night, there will be a reception at the Blacksmith Shop Gallery in town.

 Full Conference Plans (Include Sat Banquet)
 Total Price
 Full - Start Thursday
 Full - Start Friday
 Full - Start Saturday

No Breakfast Plans (Include Sat Banquet)
Total Price
 No-Bfst - Start Thursday
 No-Bfst - Start Friday  $77
 No-Bfst - Start Saturday  $41

*All Meal Plans Include Saturday Banquet

 Saturday Banquet Only

Additional Meal Plans can be purchased at

*For all questions and concerns regarding additional meal registration please contact secretary Craig Litwin at 707/634-6132 or


Highway 101 to Fernbridge then turn onto CA-211, which becomes Main Street Ferndale.

Flights into the Ferndale area arrive at the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County – Arcata-Eureka (ACV) airport. United flies direct to ACV from Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). Shuttles are available from ACV to The Bear River Casino and Ferndale hotels.


** Note that the special CBA rates are valid for a limited time which varies and is subject to change by each property. Reserve soon.

Bear River Casino, 11 Bear Paws Way,  Loleta CA. Call (800) 761-2327 or (707) 733-9644 and press 2. (

SOLD OUT - The Victorian Inn ( 707-786-4949) is Ferndale’s premier hotel. Many of the conference demonstrators will stay there. A room block has been arranged with favorable pricing – be sure to call directly and say that you are booking for the “CBA Blacksmith group.” All room rates include a full breakfast.

ALMOST SOLD OUT - Redwood Suites ( 707-786-5000) is a more contemporary property with lower prices than the Victorian Inn. It is just across the street from the VI, and all rooms include full breakfast at the VI Restaurant. Same room block reservation as at the VI; ask for the “CBA Blacksmith group” rate. 

There are other lodging options within 5 miles of the fairgrounds. Room blocks with favorable rates are available in Fortuna. Check Best Western (707) 725-6822, Comfort Inn (707) 725-7022 and Super 8  (707) 725-2888. These room blocks are identified as "California Blacksmith Association" or "Blacksmith Association". Is some cases rooms are more expensive on the weekend. In Ferndale, the Francis Creek Inn (707) 786-9611 has a few rooms set aside for the CBA / Joe Koches Conference.

There are many other beautiful and historic sites open as Bed and Breakfast lodging. This document combined lodging list cba 2020.pdf  lists some of them plus some hotels. There are also many reasonably priced rooms in Eureka - about 20 minutes by car from the fairgrounds. See

Other Lodging - 


The fairgrounds have 65 spaces for RVs. There are also car and tent campsites. They have restrooms with showers both in the RV area and in the overflow camping area along Van Ness Ave.

RV camping with water and power hookup: $28 / night

Car and tent camping without hookups: $12/night.

Arrange these spaces with the Fairgrounds office. Contact Lisa Hindley (707) 786-9511, or by e-mail, Be sure to mention that you are attending the CBA Conference.

See for information and rules for campers.



We dedicate this conference to the memory of Joe Koches. Joe proposed this conference at the Placerville board meeting in 2018. He and Michael Bondi worked for many months to secure the first-rate program of demonstrators at this conference. Sadly, Joe did not live to see it happen. But we will do our best to carry out his vision.

Theme / Program Overview

The theme Joe selected is “Beginner to Artist,” and we carry that out by serving beginners and intermediate smiths in the large Education area and the more advanced with 5 of the best contemporary artist blacksmiths working in the world. Because of the tremendous portfolio of works each of these smiths will have to show, we have dedicated our Lunchtime to their slide shows.

There are two gallery spaces at this conference. As always, we will have the CBA conference gallery at the fairgrounds, and members are encouraged to show off their best work. This time we also have Joe Koches' extensive Blacksmith Shop gallery with works by E.A.Chase, Joe Anderson, Toby Hickman, Monica Coyne, Jake James, Doug Pryor, and many more.

This conference is truly the place to be for smithing education and inspiration in 2020.



Claudio Bottero


Claudio Bottero was born in Torreselle, a village near Piombino Dese, in the province of Padua, the 10th March 1957, where he still lives and works.

Since he was a child he started his training at his father’s workshop, as his father was also a blacksmith. It is in this place that his great passion for the iron forge works born and where he started learning the iron work methods.

Since 1994 he has been employing trainees from various countries for a period of time. According to two Czech blacksmith, who worked by him, “when you work for Claudio, roller-skates grow to your feet”.

From 2000 Claudio has enlarged his views in the iron world, taking part for the first time to an American manifestation, the ABANA Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 2009 the CBA has invited him to Petaluma,California, in order to create a sculpture, named “Casanova”. In 2011 he has participated at the CBA demonstration by Michael Bondi's workshop where one of his latest sculptures, "Diomeda", born. 

He has not only participated in various art exhibitions and conferences, he also has been invited in three exhibitions dedicated to him; the first time in 2000 in Asolo, in 2003 in Treviso, both cities in the region Veneto, and finally in2010 in Brussels’ private gallery. In 2011 another exhibition took place at Tour Madou, seat of the European Commission, with the works of five masters who performed in Helfstyn (Czech Republic).The same year, in December, some of his bowls were exposed at the International Contemporary Art and Design at Habermann Gallery in Ybbsitz (Austria).

In June 2011 Claudio were invited by Penland School of Crafts (North Carolina) to held a summer session course. The main product of this course, created with his students, along with "Icarus", another sculpture originally made for Penland's Annual Benefit Auction, are now located at the Metal Museum in Memphis (Tennessee).

Pavel Tasovský
Náměšť nad Oslavou, Czech Republic

He graduated from the School of Artistic Craftsmanship in Prague. During 1998 – 99, he attended and graduated from the Master’s School of Artistic Craftsmanship in Prague with the graduation work Hamounovo křeslo (Hamoun’s Easy Chair).

The main focus of the blacksmith's studio is the realization of orders for historical buildings, but also for contemporary architecture. Most realizations are made according to own proposals after consultation with architects. Many graduates of art schools pass through our workshop. Years of practice and they establish their own workshops.

Since 2003 he has been organizing the exhibition MEETING together with the castellan of the chateau Marek Buš in the chateau, chateau park and Gallery 12.

In 2010 he receives an invitation as a demonstrator from Europe to Blacksmiths Conference in California, where he shows his blacksmith art. Here he, his son and colleague create  kinetic sculpture called NO.

In 2011 he is invited as a member of expert committee to the Italian city of STIA, where he evaluates exhibited blacksmith works.

In 2016 - 2018 he and his son are the lecturers of the three-year blacksmithing school in Brussels, School for Conservation craft. The main initiator of this school is the royal family.

Christoph Fredrich

Manager/Owner of the historic water powered Blacksmith workshop in Sennwald, Switzerland, including restoration, revival and operation of the Workshop.

Since 2005 Activities in the blacksmith shop reduced, main activity: elected Head of School authorities of the local shire.

Since 1982 

Demonstrator in international Blacksmith-meetings in  USA / England / Finland /Germany  /Korea/Canada

Managing the workshop: „artmetal“ in Seoul South Korea,

Course instructor for jewellery and traditional tools at Craft School Pennland USA,

Managing workshop on Southern Illinois University Carbondale USA,

Workshop in Santa Fe, at Helmut Hillenkamp


Basic ideas for the design of my work

The fascination of changing the volume through forging, has fascinated and challenged me throughout my whole life.

"The form" is never finally invented and the search is unstoppable. With the conviction that the material shows limits to my design, I try to respect this and to show it in the design. The possible hot deformation of the iron allows me to do justice to the material. I strive to make the Zeitgeist visible through honesty in the design and application of the technique.

honest, clear, unfussy, visible, tactile, connected, grounded

Peter Braspenninx

Pete Braspenninx, owner of Phyre Forge, is a graduate of the University of Michigan school of art and design. (2004) He is an artist, blacksmith, and educator. His work has been shown, collected, and published nationally and internationally. His work focuses primarily on building shape and line through visual connections and joinery using traditional skills to make modern forms.He also does architectural iron work along with sculptural work.

Monica Coyne
Redway, CA

I start with a piece of cold hard steel. Using a forge, I heat the bar to 2000 degrees. Yellow-hot steel moves like clay. I cannot touch the material, so I use tools such as tongs, hammers, fullers and chisels that I have also shaped out of steel. By understanding ancient processes, I push toward something new. We are controlled by our perceptions. My work has always been an experiment in altering my own perception of what a bar of steel represents. I formed the hot steel and as it cooled, I would catch a glimpse of stretching skin. When the pressure of the drift expanded the hole, I could see fat swelling into a breast. My figures are shaped from the perfectly dimensioned bar that comes from one of our most historically important industries. Innovation and depredation have propelled us forward as a species, but our greatest and most terrifying strength is the ability to talk each other into things. Coming out of and flowing into the original stock, these figures tell your mind to see a person. But the person is also a piece of steel connected just as we are to our own complicity in the fallout of our ingenuity.

Monica’s architectural and sculptural work has been commissioned and collected by galleries and private individuals. She has been featured in many publications including, Elementum Journal (UK), Fine Homebuilding Magazine (USA), HEPHAISTOS(Germany), The Anvil’s Ring (USA), and NOMMA(USA). She has been a featured demonstrator for the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America, The California Blacksmith Association, The Colorado Metal Smiths Association and many others. She was the 2018 recipient of the Victor Thomas Jacoby Award for excellence in art. Monica’s work has been featured at numerous galleries and museums including an upcoming solo show at the Metal Museum, Memphis Tennessee, July- September 2019.


Education Area: 

Main education area

Mark Aspery

Dan Perkins

Victoria Ritter

Steve Taylor

Youth section

Miguel de los Rios

Zander Nichols to do a youth-only workshop on forging knife blades.

Hands-On Interactive Coaching

Mini workshops

Forge welding

Punching and drifting



Chain forging competition – details will be provided. Chain_and_repair_links.pdf is an extensive tutorial on chain making and related subjects.

Open it With Art Contest

In preparation for the conference, make a bottle opener or a corkscrew for the Open-it-with-Art competition. This was one of Joe’s favorites. Combine a functional object with an artistic treatment to make it special. Details are here.

If you bring your own forge and anvil set-up - you’re assured of a place in the education area.


The CBA members gallery will be in the “Art Building” at the fairgrounds. You are encouraged to bring your best work to be displayed. (Items must fit through standard pedestrian access double doors to go inside the building.)  The gallery accepts artwork to be displayed starting Thursday at 9 am. Doors are open for gallery viewing starting at noon Thursday and will be open from 9 am to 6 pm except Saturday when the gallery closes at 4:30 pm to prepare for the banquet. The gallery sponsors a Viewers Choice poll; we announce the results at the conference banquet on Saturday night. Viewer's choice balloting is open Saturday from 9 am until 3:00 pm.

            Exhibitors must arrange to pick up their artwork on Saturday between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm with the last chance pickup opportunity on Sunday from 8 am to 10:30 am.  Works left after that time will be considered abandoned.




Things to see and do in and around Ferndale

The Victorian Village of Ferndale ( – Beautifully preserved homes and buildings. Don’t miss the Mercantile (at 421 Main St.) and of course, The Blacksmith Shop (at 455 Main St.)

The Loleta Cheese Factory, 252 Loleta Drive, Loleta, CA 95551 (

Centerville Beach -- This beautiful sandy beach is about 5 miles west of Ferndale.

Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park also the Redwood National Park.

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The Kinetic Museum Eureka ( 518 A Street (A Street Between 5th and 6th), Eureka, CA 95501, 707-786-3443. Joe was involved in this craziness for some years.

Lost Coast Brewery - 1600 Sunset Dr. Eureka, California 95503 (707) 267-9651 (

Weather to expect

            The weather at the beginning of May in Ferndale is cold to cool with lows typically 44 to 50 F and highs between 54 and 58 F. Mornings are typically cloudy with partly cloudy conditions in the afternoon. The probability of precipitation is 21% on any day, but if there is rain, it will likely be very light.

            Sunrise is about 6:15 AM and sunset at about 8:10 PM.

            Winds tend to be light and mostly from the north or northwest. The windiest time of the day tends to be mid-afternoon when the average wind speed is 11 MPH and rarely over 18 MPH. 

            The Pacific Ocean average temperature is 52 F near Ferndale on May 1.


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