Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing and the Artists Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA) are pleased to announce the introduction of the National Curriculum. ABANA’s core mission is to perpetuate the noble art of blacksmithing and recognizes that it’s vital as a national blacksmithing organization, to share a successful and practical working curriculum with members, affiliates, and the blacksmithing world at large.
The National Curriculum is modeled after and graciously shared by the CBA (California Blacksmith Association– an ABANA affiliate), which has had great success with this program. VIB is proud to be able to offer this instruction to interested students.
The curriculum is presented as one way to learn blacksmithing, but certainly not the only way. The NC is a departure point for those who seek a structured program of study that will challenge them. Who is eligible to learn from the curriculum? Anyone and everyone are welcome to learn from this self-paced curriculum. One does not need to be an ABANA member to follow the curriculum; however, being a member will have some perks. ABANA members who satisfactorily complete each level will receive a diploma that recognizes their hard work and achievement. Second, for a smith that wants to receive National Curriculum instructor designation, ABANA membership is a prerequisite. VIB will offer core instructional lessons for the NC ongoing as part of their instructional schedule.
The National Curriculum Instructors are responsible for not only teaching the curriculum but also ascertaining students’ skills. Just as there are 3 levels of the curriculum, there are also 3 distinct instructor accreditation levels. Dale Morse of VIB is accredited as an NCI (National Curriculum Instructor) and is qualified to teach and evaluate all levels of the curriculum. At VIB, student progress and projects will be evaluated during course lab time. Other accredited National Curriculum instructors can evaluate the progress of students during workshops and conferences around the country.
The first level of the curriculum is designed as an introduction to blacksmithing and culminates in the gate latch project. Completing the gate latch is a prerequisite for moving on to level II. ABANA will accept the results from affiliates that qualify one of their members as having passed level I. For levels II and above ABANA will impose the standards outlined in the National Curriculum and approval from National Curriculum Instructors.
The curriculum at VIB will be taught in the following format. Core lessons will be given on designated Mondays and immediately followed by optional lab time on Tuesdays. Level one instruction will be held on the second Monday of the month, level two lessons on the third Monday of the month, and level three on the fourth Monday of the month. This schedule will be ongoing as long as previously scheduled classes aren’t being held on those weeks. Consult our class schedule page to see exactly when core courses and lab times will take place. The core instruction Monday lessons will run eight hours and will cost $180 each. Lab hours will cost $10/hour. Students do not necessarily have to take all the courses or make use of all the lab hours. Students may choose which lessons they want to take in person if any and may prefer to practice and hone their skills in their home shops rather than during lab hours. Progress and project evaluations at VIB will always be conducted during lab hours at the $10/hr rate.