2023 Demonstrators



ABBA – Michael Dillon, AACB – Mitch Latsch, AFC – TBD, NC-ABANA – Owen Riedesel , FABA – TBD, OBG – Buster Grubbs , PSABG – Jason Anderson

Liam Hoffman

Growing up in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina I was accustomed to playing outside in the woods and creeks, opening up my mind to creativity. I have always been very hands-on and creative. I would make paper dye with wild violets and mold bowls from clay dug out of the creek banks. My mother and her family are very artistic and creative with design. My father is a hard working farmer. I believe I have both these attributes, and that when these traits are combined they fit perfectly the description of a blacksmith: hard work mixed with creative spirit.

I began blacksmithing in the fall of 2008 at the age of thirteen, starting out with nothing but a fire pit and a trailer hitch for an anvil. Over the last decade I’ve worked my way up by purchasing new equipment one machine at a time and learning about the craft and science of moving steel. My parents were extremely supportive in helping me pursue my passion. They gave me a push start by building a small brake drum forge for my fourteenth birthday. My dad took on the project of building a small 200 square foot shop over a two-year period. Once this foundation was established, I had my business well under way before graduating from high school.

I always get asked how and why I got started in blacksmithing at the age I did. One might think that I saw a blacksmith at a local fair or read about it in school and ran home to try it out. There was no conscious reason why I started, it’s just called being a 13 year old boy. There is nothing else to it. Once I started heating up and hammering on steel, I knew it felt right. Only afterward did I discover what I was doing was called blacksmithing. Today I’m twenty-four years old with over 10 years of experience, author of my book FORGED a Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith, and I’ve had the pleasure to teach private lessons to students from as far away as Australia. In June of 2016, I traveled to NYC to appear on History Channel’s Forged in Fire. There, I forged a Kora sword and became the youngest to win Forged in Fire against ABS Master Bladesmith, Josh Smith. *Full article here*

I believe that high school hindered me in a way since I discovered my vocation at such a young age. Getting an education is imperative, but at the same time it felt nearly obsolete for me and it’s becoming more apparent every day how this traditional schooling isn’t working for so many folks with an aptitude for trades. I was already working 35 hours a week after school and on weekends, making both school and work life challenging. Add to that several years in Boy Scouts, achieving Eagle Scout at seventeen. I truly believe in hard work for building character. The secret to success is passion and hard work, of which I’m fortunate to have plenty for blacksmithing. Our goal today is to create a tool that your great grandfather would call quality. Made by people, not machines. We’re creating legacy tools to be passed down generation to generation.

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins spent childhood watching his father craft the world around him as nights and weekends were spent building a log home. As a young adult, Matt worked in the blacksmith shop at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site as well as the home forge on the family farm outside of Selkirk, Manitoba, the same location where he forges today.

Having picked up a hammer up at an early age, Matt feels at home in a room full of tools and around an anvil. Over the past 25 years, he has honed his skills and techniques while studying under master smiths around North America.

Matt Jenkins is an internationally recognized award-winning blacksmith. In 2009, he and Paul Garrett received an Honorable Mention in the team category at the World Forging Championship in Stia, Italy. Returning to Stia in 2015, Matt took home the first place medal in Drawing and Design.

Using handtools and early industrial equipment, Matt creates designs with the timeless feel of handmade work. Throughout the year, he leads workshops at Cloverdale Forge, teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and demonstrates at the Festival du Voyageur.


Jason Anderson – PSABG

Mitch Latsch – AACB


Michael Dillon – ABBA

Buster Grubbs – OBG

Owen Riedesel – NC-ABANA



Be sure to bring eye and ear protection to wear while watching the demonstrations or when in the green coal area. The SBA will have safety glasses for sale if needed. Parents must closely supervise their children at all times. Due to the nature of blacksmithing, all unsupervised children can pose risks – not only to themselves, but to other attendees as well.