Artistic Blacksmiths Association of North Carolina
Artistic Blacksmiths Association of North Carolina

President's Report


Lyle Wheeler

Role of the President

The President is the principle executive officer of NCABANA and generally supervises all the business of NCABANA. The President is responsible for planning all events (including Board meetings), appoint committees or individuals to run aspects of the organization, authorize payments of up to $500, and ensure the newsletter arrives on

President's Report as of 3/06/2020



Greetings fellow smiths.  A whole lot of iron has gone across our anvils since our last issue.  There are many factors to the lateness in publication and not the least of which is my own recalcitrance in getting my report written.  Life gets in the way, but I intend to do a better job going forward.

We had very successful runs at the Dixie Classic Fair and the North Carolina State Fair.  The TABs are again commended for their efforts to educate the public by operating the forge in Yesteryear Village.  The Heritage Forge in Heritage Circle at NCSF continues to shine as the Jewel of that area of the Fair.  We are establishing that forge as an asset of the fairgrounds and produced many items of utility for the newly rebuilt Tobacco Barn there.  The Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, is a regular visitor during the Fair and loves to show it off.

The board of Directors met February 8th at the Wilkes County Public Library for our annual retreat. We started ‘promptly’ at 10:am, took a few breaks, ate well and finished with most all of our business by 4:pm. 

From the Secretary’s report our roster now stands at 262 members, which is average.  Jennifer Phillips continues to get this job done for us.  We are looking at putting the dues renewal notice on a postcard.  To streamline the renewal and intake process please send your dues directly to our treasurer, who will deposit the remittances and notify the Secretary.  A new feature of our website will be to accept payment online.  Soon!

John Fluke is settling in well as our Treasurer.  His yearend report can be found in this issue and on the website, NCABANA.ORG, by scrolling down the main page and clicking on the Treasurer icon.  We continue on strong financial footing and we are able to carry out our program effectively.  Our scholarship finances are very good.

Vice President Brandon Willson is doing a great job administering our scholarship program and his report can be found in this issue and on the website.  Your board agreed to make $4000 available again this year in the scholarship pool.  We have seen increased interest in this membership benefit and will continue our support.  Please keep up your support for Iron in the Hat at our chapter meetings.  Brandon has also taken on a leadership role in the organization and his efforts are welcome!

Our meeting schedule for this year is as follows:

Q1  -  March 21st = Big Blu/ Oak Hill Iron.  Demonstrator, Ellen Durkin

Q2  -  June 2oth = Shop Space, Raleigh, NC Demonstrator TBD

Q3  -  Sept 12th = Dixie Classic Fairgrounds, Winston-Salem hosted by the     

TABs, Demonstrator TBD

Q4  -  December 5th = Roger Barbour’s shop, Clayton, NC  Demonstrator,

Jerry Darnell

All chapter meetings start at 9:am. 

We will again provide support for the Hammer-in @ JCCFS November 6th-7th.


We have increased our sponsorship at Fire on the Mountain, the annual blacksmithing extravaganza in downtown Spruce Pine, NC.  This event continues to grow.  It will be held the last Saturday in April, the 25th this year.  Our booth will increase in size to 5 spots and be in our usual location on Locust Street at the corner with Crystal Street.  All members of NCABANA are welcome to attend and sell from our collective booth.  If we have more than space contracted we will pool some funds and buy more space.  We will again retain 10% of sales and remit this back to the chapter to defray the cost of our participation.  This is a great opportunity to introduce folks to NCABANA and provide salable ironwork for the buying public.

Marshall Swaringen was recognized for his work with the Winston-Salem group and his dedication to NCABANA and honored with a lifetime membership.

A good portion of the retreat was dedicated to getting our new website active.  It will always be a work in progress.  The calendar is coming along with new additions regularly posted.  Our library is now listed thanks to Librarian John McPherson.  We are working on the membership roll, online dues payment, local group reports and a lot more.

After very careful consideration The Board has decided to publish the newsletter online.  We made this move due to the constantly increasing costs of printing and mailing and poor response from the current printer.  If you still desire a printed copy one will be provided for you, but you must opt in for this by contacting the editor.

Eric Campbell continues to lead our efforts at the SBA Conference.  We are scheduled to run this event in 2025.  If you have any interest in this please contact Eric directly.  We are looking at the possibility of renting a tent for our part in 2021.

Tom Watkins is doing a great job leading our efforts at the NC State Fair.  He has established a very good relationship with the new Fair Manager and has a dedicated group to work with.  This is our biggest exposure and opportunity to educate the public on the hand forging of ironwork.

The board is in the process of amending the Scholarship portion of our bylaws to make some funds available for shorter, mentoring opportunities.  This will make it possible for members to get one on one instruction on a per day basis.  Details soon.

As we emerge from hibernation remember that the iron does not care how it gets hot, it just wants to be hot. 


Hammer on my fellow smiths,  Lyle Wheeler,  President,   NCABANA


President's Report as of 1/9/2019

Folks around here have been conversing about the amount of moisture bestowed upon the Great State of Wilkes for the past several months and now it’s official! As reported in last Friday’s edition of the Journal Patriot “Blazing the trail of progress in the State of Wilkes for over 112 years” we had 75.8 inches of rain last year, a new record. That’s about twice our average, so if you know anybody that would like to trade half their drought for half our overage please let us know. This situation has already delayed Winter turnings and Spring plowing.

NCABANA has enjoyed another good run this year “From Manteo to Murphy” and points in between. Our membership is growing and we are on sound financial footing. A lot of our success has been achieved by the dedicated leadership of our organization, for which I am humbly grateful. It’s easy to be the captain when you have a good crew.

By acclamation, John Fluke was elected to be our new Treasurer. Thank you John for accepting this position. John is taking over from Jim Kennady who has given us eight years of dedicated and exemplary service. His financial acumen and guidance has allowed us to invest our revenue wisely to achieve our program and mission. Jim has worked tirelessly to account for and balance our books, assist at meetings and offer wise counsel to guide our organization. Thank you, Jim, for a job well done!

We held seven statewide meetings this year and are planning another robust schedule for 2019. The kickoff at Oak Hill Iron/Big Blu is always well attended and it’s amazing what rolls out of the hills and hollers after a long winter’s nap. The Q1 meeting will be Saturday, March 16th, 2019. The TABs have shifted their meeting to Q3 to better facilitate preparations for their run at the Dixie Classic Fair. Our Q2 meeting will return to Kayne & Son/Blacksmith’s Depot in Candler on June 22nd. There is a good possibility that we may get to hold a statewide meeting at the Heritage Forge at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds later in the year pending scheduling resolutions and availability. We are still working on scheduling some bonus meetings and will continue to support the annual Hammer-in at JCCFS the first Friday in November.

Our annual Board of Director’s retreat is scheduled for Saturday, the 9th of February in the Friends of the Library meeting room at the Wilkes County Library. We will commence at 10:00am. If you have any concerns you would like addressed, please contact your local group leader for representation or myself directly if you do not regularly attend a local meeting. This is when we conduct all of our business for the year. The meetings are very productive, we cover a lot of ground and set the schedule for the entire year. Plotting and planning assures success in the theory of the six Ps!

Fire on the Mountain will be the last Saturday in April, the 27th this year. We will again continue to support this extravaganza of blacksmithing and have a block of booth’s available for members to sell their work and allow us to recruit new members as well as connect with our membership. Please contact your local group leaders or myself for further information.

In collaboration with the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, we are about to conclude a very successful exhibition, “Forging Ahead”. The show opened November 3rd and will come down January 27th. This exhibit has showcased the current state of blacksmithing in the region, has been very well received and generated good sales. Nikki Joseff, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for the Guild, has been great to work with and we are grateful for her dedication to providing this opportunity to display our member’s work in a high quality gallery setting.

Work continues to progress on our new website and we look forward to launching it by early April. Being a Luddite, I had no idea what all goes into developing and establishing a strong web presence. Once it goes live, please give it a look and offer constructive criticism. It is a work in progress.

Nominations will be held at our Q2 and Q3 meetings for the positions of Vice-President and Secretary. They are currently held by Garret Dunn as v-p and Jennifer Phillips as sec. Both have served quite ably for many years and Garret would be happy to pass on his duties if someone would like to ascend to a leadership position. Please direct your curiosities to either Garret or myself.

Tom Watkins has taken over leadership of the Heritage Forge at the NC State Fairgrounds and is working with the Fair management to secure some local meeting dates for the facility there. This would allow the Triangle group to host some of their meetings there and also offer forge time on those days for beginners. The chapter will continue to support this effort. We also acknowledge the contributions remitted to the chapter from the operation of that venue during the State Fair.

The Dean Taylor scholarship program is in the best financial shape ever. Thank you all for your generous donations and purchase of tickets to the Iron-in-the-Hat raffles. This has allowed the chapter to offer two scholarships a year. Please contact any board member or the V-P directly about application requirements. This is a valuable member benefit that is underutilized.

Eric Campbell continues to lead our delegation to the SBA conference set for May 16th – 18th, 2019 in Madison, Georgia. Please contact Eric directly about your planned participation in the trellis project and attendance at this biennial event. More information can be found on page 14 in this issue.

From the middle of hibernation, it looks like a long time before we take our collective shows on the road. Blink twice and it’ll be here tomorrow. Remember, the iron doesn’t care how it gets hot, it just wants to be hot. Get it hot, hit it hard and quit when you’re done!!

Keep those hammers moving, Lyle Wheeler, President, NCABANA