The information in this history was taken from UMBA newsletters. The information is true to the newsletters, even when an event changes its name from year to year. For example, it might be called UMBACON one year and the Summer Conference the next.

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UMBA was founded in 1979, but the oldest newsletter we have is from 1987. To get more information I spoke with charter member Bob Bergman. Bob said Bill Fiorini was the founder and first president. Bill was an art professor at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse and an early member of ABANA. As a chapter of ABANA, UMBA filled a geographic gap between the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association to the south and the Guild of Metalsmiths to the north.

The first meeting was held at the University in LaCrosse with Beau Hickory as demonstrator. Other early demonstrators included Francis Whitaker, Peter Ross, Robb Gunter, Mike Boone, and Frank Turley.

Carol Sakowski was another early UMBA president that Bob recalled. She set up workshops and brought in demonstrators from outside the club.

Please contact me if you have early UMBA newsletters or memories.

Jeff Amundson vulcanhandworks@gmail.com



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