2020 Fall Conference
Kirk started blacksmithing in 1988 after finding AlexWeygers’ “The Modern Blacksmith” in
a bookstore. He was working as long distance operator for AT&T at the time.When he was
laid off he convinced the powers that were to send him to blacksmithing school for
retraining. He learned the basics in a sixweek intensive course with Bob Patrick.
Kirk’s first paid forging job came in 1989, making a set of railings for Bass Pro Shops under
a subcontract from an ornamental fab shop. He continued working in the fab shop for 5
years after that, and met the managers of the Bass Pro metal shop at the 1994 ABANA
conference. He worked for Bass Pro Shop for 15 years, primarily doing architectural
embellishment including forging, chasing, raising, and fabrication work for gates, railings,
lighting, and just about anything where traditional ironwork could be done.
Kirk has served as president for the Blacksmith’s Association of Missouri (BAM), as a board
member of ABANA, and as program chair of the Florida Artist Blacksmith Association
(FABA). He has demonstrated for BAM, IVBA, NWBA, MASA, and FABA.
When Kirk saw Bob Patrick again at the 2018 BAM conference, Bob recalled that “when
you started you didn’t work very well with your hands.” Kirk says that’s proof that anyone
who sticks with the craft long enough to gain skill can do it!.
John Taylor began his career as a welder and moved into industrial plant maintenance. He
always had a love for steel and the things that can be done with it. After he discovered
blacksmithing, John credits Ron Nichols for early help and guidance and for introductions to
Clay Spencer and Mark Aspery. Since studying with Clay and Mark, the hydraulic press and
traditional joinery have become John’s niches. John was scheduled to demonstrate at the
2020 ABANA conference in Saratoga, NY, that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus
John has a passion for blacksmithing that comes through as an infectious enthusiasm when he
demonstrates. Come, be inspired, and then go home and make something!
Richey Crew of Pontotoc, Mississippi, is an accomplished blacksmith and bladesmith and
runner up on the History Channel's Forged in Fire competition where he made a Japanese
sword. If you've seen the tee shirts with "If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly" and "Might
oughta call someone", those are from Richey's TV appearance!
Richey will be doing a special surprise demonstration on Sunday morning. Come and find
out what he'll be making!