Blacksmithing isn’t just for boys.
“It’s dirty and it’s hard on your body,” said 26-year-old Taryn Scammell, welder, artist blacksmith and yoga instructor.
“But I like it.”
The jack — or jill — of all trades lives in Errington and apprentices under David Kasprick at his Nanoose Bay workshop, Red Cod Forge.
The duo creates art metalwork: sculptures, railings, gates, window grills, door handles, the list goes on. Anything you can think of, and probably some things you can’t, they make out of metal.
Scammell certainly isn’t your average artist blacksmith, if there even is such a thing in the unique industry.
When she got her welding ticket in Cranbrook, Scammell was the only female in the classroom of 20 men.
“You’re an outsider all the time,” she said unfazed, noting the gender-gap didn’t really bother her — she was there to learn.
“I even had welding instructors tell me I’d be the best in the class because women are just generally better welders than men, we’re more meticulous and pay closer attention I guess.”
According to Service Canada census data, in 2006 women made up just four per cent of the welding industry. In 1991, women accounted for less than two per cent of the industry.
And lucky for Kasprick, Scammell is breaking the metal ceiling.
The two met by way of serendipity.
Scammell admits she had long admired Kasprick’s work and often cruised through his Facebook page, clicking the ‘like’ button over and over.
“We had this mutual acquaintance and for a while he was talking (to Dave) about ‘some welder chick’ he knew,” explains Scammell. “One day I got this random (Facebook) message from Dave saying he needed someone to weld for him part-time.”
Upon finally meeting face-to-face, Scammell realized “I wasn’t the girl his acquaintance was talking about … But it worked out well for me.”
The rest is history.
Scammell helped Kasprick with a big commission gate project now sitting along Corfield in Parksville.
“There was lots of forging and all the welds had to be perfect,” Kasprick recalls. “It had to be beautiful and consistent and Taryn fit the bill perfectly.”
And now she jokes, “you can’t get rid of me.”
Scammell and Kasprick will be showcasing their artist blacksmith talents this weekend at the 50th anniversary of the Errington Volunteer Fire Department. The two will be on site demonstrating how to make a piece of metal art, which will later be given away as a raffle prize by donation.
The public is encouraged to join in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the EVFD Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fire Hall No. 1 located at 960 Errington Road. The free, family-friendly event will have birthday cake, a barbecue and a full day of activities including children’s toys and games, Fire Fit Challenge, Errington Locker Wars and a metal art demonstration by Red Cod Forge.