The American Bladesmith Society (ABS) will offer its first-ever bladesmithing school outside the USA beginning in October.
Operated in partnership with The Forge at Ostiches, Belgium, the school’s first class will be “Introduction to Bladesmithing.” Limited to seven students, the class will have as its primary instructor ABS master smith Jean-Paul Thevenot of Dijon, France. Belgium’s Dirk Bourguignon and Frederic Taquet, both ABS bladesmiths, will assist.
The school site is in a beautiful village south of Brussels. Accommodations are nearby within two to three miles. English will be spoken.
The first ABS school of bladesmithing outside the USA was approved in a vote of the ABS Board of Directors during the ABS annual meeting at the 2013 BLADE Show & Living Ready Expo (www.bladeshow.com) May 31-June 2.
The Belgian facility is the fourth ABS school of bladesmithing. The others are the original—the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing in Old Washington, Arkansas—and the Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina, and the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine.
“We now have members in 18 countries,” noted ABS Webmaster Dan Cassidy, “and it is not unusual for my wife Sally and I to communicate with our ABS members around the world in Spanish, Portugese and French on a routine basis. The Internet makes all of this possible today.”
Cassidy credited ABS master smith and new ABS president Joe Keeslar with making the new school possible. Winner of the 2013 BLADE Magazine Industry Achievement Award, Keeslar has been a groundbreaker in bringing modern bladesmithing to both France and Belgium. “Joe was the one who made all the arrangements for the new school,” Cassidy noted, “and it was done over the course of more than a year.”
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