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Challenge! Forge inside the Box: Flora

  • October 12, 2024
  • 12:00 PM
  • Oktoberfest, Cazadero, CA


  • One registration per submission. Works submitted become property of CBA. Having the work go on tour is not guaranteed.


CBA issues a Challenge!!!

Forge inside the Box: Flora

Round 1 due at Oktoberfest 2024

Inspired by the awesomeness of the 150mm Challenge displayed at Spring Conference 2022, at Petaluma, CBA invites individuals and teams of up to 4 to create artwork that can be shipped in a standard USPS Large Flat-Rate Box.

Your CBA embarks on a mufti-year project to bring the art of blacksmiths to the public. To do that we need a body of great work to show. You are challenged to help build that body of work representing the breadth and quality of our craft.

We want to create a body of work that represents blacksmiths' artistic ability and craftsmanship. CBA will send our best work on a road trip visiting art shows, galleries and museums.

The theme for the first round is 'Flora'. Leaves, flowers, any sort of plant based element, realistic or abstract or impressionistic. Other elements are allowed.

FAQ and such:

Who can enter? Anyone. Like the 150mm Challenge, we are open to entries from artist blacksmiths from across the globe.

What is needed to enter? Just make something and bring it to Oktoberfest or ship it to an address to be determined a bit later. Fill out the form on the CBA website.

What can it be made of? It should be predominantly made of metal featuring traditionally crafted elements. Any metal is acceptable. The finish should support and enhance the work.

How big is a Large Flat-Rate Box? The Interior dimensions are 12 x 11.75 x 5.5 inches. Allowing for packing material is recommended but not required. It need not use the whole volume of the box.

Can it stand up? As displayed it can use a space 11.5 x 11.5 x 18 inches tall. This might be a simple stand so that a piece designed for wall mounting could be displayed. Or it could require some assembly such as placing flower stems in a vase. If assembly is required, instructions must be provided. Note: words and pictures work better than either alone. If fasteners are required, they should not be visible or they should complement the work.

Can I work alone? Yes, but we really want to encourage teamwork. Hopefully, intermediate smiths can team up with masters and professionals.

“Flora”? What does that even mean?  Flowers, plant forms, or leaves. For instance, roses, oak leaves with acorns, etc.  It could be a literal interpretation into metal or abstract – use your imagination.

Who owns the work? All entries become the property of CBA. We add them to the next challenge which is due at the 2025 Spring Conference. We intend to offer them for sale along our roadshow. If they don’t sell, we will auction them off at some event. There are some details yet to be worked out in this area.

Will this be a one-time thing? No, we intend to keep this up with new themes for at least a couple of years. The next theme will probably be “Fauna” or forms from life. Like Monica Coyne's humanoid forms, or those of Joe Anderson, or Zevik Gottlieb. We can think of other themes as we go along.

Where will these be displayed? We have a couple of places lined up but we are looking for more. We’ll be creating an exhibition catalog with photos and descriptions of the works and the artists. We’d like to earn a place at art festivals such as the Sausalito Art Festival, the Kings Mountain Art Festival, and the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival, or the Winter Fantasy in Laguna Beach.  All these high-end affairs require us to pass muster with their juries competing against well-known artists in many disciplines. Currently, we are working on cementing connections with some galleries in Santa Cruz. At some point the collection will be at the Museum at Templeton, Vista, and maybe Santa Rosa.

Why? Presenting the craft of blacksmithing and the art of blacksmiths to the public is part of both the CBA and the ABANA charters. We have found that we can’t expect the public to come to us. So how do we bring our art and craft to the public? Getting to more people means showing our work. Galleries, museums, and arts and craft fairs are all possible venues.

(Photo Credit: Georgre Latermoser)

California Blacksmith Association

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Richmond, CA  94804

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