The Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association has been serving the blacksmith and metal artist community since 1998. GCBA was organized by experienced blacksmiths in order to specialize in teaching and sharing information about traditional blacksmithing and metal working.
We welcome beginners and have several members in their teens as well as blacksmiths and bladesmiths with years of experience to teach them. GCBA presently has approximately 85 dues paying members. At $25.00 per year, our dues are very affordable to all.
We hold regular monthly meetings at Buddy Leonard’s Shop and hold Annual GCBA Conferences to take advantage of the work of smiths with special skills. The proceeds of conference revenue are used for scholarships for qualified members to attend blacksmith schools such as Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, ME. In recent years we have sent three members to schools.
We are affiliated with ABANA, the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America and encourage our members to also join this national organization. GCBA regularly exchanges newsletters and publications with other affiliates throughout the North America.
Chuck Robinson, President
Chuck, a retired Oceanographer, has been a blacksmith for more than 30 years. His smithy, Sea Robin Forge, is located in Picayune Mississippi. His special interests are blade smithing and tool making and he is widely known for his Adjustable Blade Smithing Anvil. See Chuck’s work gallery.
Larry House, Vice President and Chairman
Larry was introduced to bladesmithing and metal forging while installing airfield navigation equipment throughout the world for the U.S. Air Force. Larry aspires to create artwork that is both pleasing to the eye and useful. He hosts Fire in the Swamp, a summer fire art show where smiths present their art form and demonstrate their skills. Learn more about Larry. Also, see Larry’s profile at the Mississippi Folklife and Folk Artist Directory.
Sid Gale, Secretary/Treasurer
After retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot, Sid slowly evolved into a “metal worker”. For many years he made copper, brass, and silver jewelry to sell at craft shows. He gradually learned to make whimsical items with “junk” that make people smile. Sid is currently focusing on quality decorative ironwork. See Sid’s work gallery.
Board of Directors
With the opening of his shop in 1987, Buddy Leonard attracted students and experienced smiths to gather for informal meetings and The Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association was formed. We applied to ABANA to become affiliated with this national organization. The GCBA charter was granted in May 1999.
At the first formal meeting almost 40 people joined the chapter. Since we had members from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Florida we named our chapter The Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association. The group kept growing and we now have about 85 members. The age of our members varies from 15 to 78 years old.
GCBA emphasizes teaching traditional blacksmithing techniques. We demonstrate blacksmithing at local schools and regional festivals. We are a non-profit organization and award a blacksmith school scholarship to one of our members each year.
Once a year GCBA holds a Conference and sponsors a nationally known demonstrator to teach new techniques to our members and guests.
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