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

"Beginner to Artist"

Joe Koches Memorial Conference

DATE: April 30- May 2, 2020

LOCATION: Victorian Village of Ferndale, CA

FLYER: SC2010 flyer.pdf


     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.


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


Wednesday, 27 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 28 April – 8 AM Conference opens

Saturday 2 May – 10 PM Conference closes

See full schedule document:


Pdf version:

Visio version:

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 Conference Fees  Before April 3, 2020
 After April 3, 2020
 Full Conference   $229  $255
 Single  Day  $125  $135
 Saturday Banquet Dinner Ticket  $27  $32
 Banquet Dinner for Children 12 and under  TBD  TBD

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 Herb Upham at 707/823-1251 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 2020 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.


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.


Camping and RV Park

            The fairground has up to 70 spaces for RVs. These are also used as car/tent campsites. There are 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 / tent camping without hookups: $12/night.

Arrange these spaces with the Fairgrounds office (707) 786-9511.
See That includes rules for campers.

Lodging options

            Room Block

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

            Hotels and B n B’s in Ferndale

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.

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 many other beautiful and historic sites open as Bed and Breakfast lodging.

(One of your conference co-chairs will be staying in a rented home through AirBnB.)

There are also well-known hotel options in Fortuna with Best Western and Travel Lodge.



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.


Principal Demonstrators



Claudio Bottero

Pavel Tasovsky

Christoph Fredrich

Peter Braspenninx

Monica Coyne


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

Kids forging 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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