Paul Reimer, Blacksmith-Artist

Last Saturday, Canada House Gallery in Banff hosted its 7th Annual Dynamic Demo Day exhibition. Seven featured artists were on hand, creating new pieces right at the gallery. This talented group included Paul Reimer, founder and owner of Reimer & Co. Architectural Blacksmiths.

Paul did some great work for our big, home renovation project. His shop produced stair railings and spindles, appliance handles, mounting hardware for the sliding, barn-style door into Mr. GeoKs’ den, exterior finishing details and 5 beautiful light fixtures (which were all CSA-approved). Paul extended a personal invitation to come see his sculpture demonstration, so we joined the hundreds of vehicles headed to Banff on Saturday morning, arriving about 10 o’clock.

Paul was already working on a tree sculpture. For a look at how he creates these one-of-a-kind sculptures in his Cranbrook shop, check out this Making a Tree video.

Several years back, Paul was the head blacksmith at Fort Steele. We knew this from talking with him when he was at our house in Calgary. Both of our boys have taken part in the apprenticeship program at Fort Steele, and K showed him the nail he created in the Fort Steele blacksmith shop. Given all of this background, Paul invited K to help him finish the sculpture…

Some hammer work
K uses one of Paul’s hammers to work on shaping the tree branches.
Detail work on the branches
K holds a small hammer in place so Paul can fine-tune a couple of branches that need a bit of detail work.

Close up of tree sculpture in progress

A short break
K and Paul chat for a few minutes waiting for the farrier’s forge to do its work and reheat the in-progress tree sculpture so it can be worked some more.

Paul took the time to explain that his work is heavily influenced by A.Y. Jackson, a founding member of the Group of Seven. Paul describes his style as “Canadian Impressionism”.

Removing the tree from the metal stock
K and Paul worked together to remove the almost-finished tree from the long piece of metal stock. Paul cut into the metal from both sides and then with the tree held firmly by the vice, they moved the raw end back and forth until it snapped off.
Human drill press
In his rush to leave, Paul forgot a key piece of equipment in his shop – a drill bit sharp enough to penetrate the bottom end of the “tree stump” so that the metal tree can be pinned to the rock base. Even turning himself into a human drill press wasn’t enough to make a hole in the metal. After a quick trip to the hardware store, success!
Finished sculpture
K and Paul acknowledge the successful completion of “their” tree sculpture.

In the end, we purchased the sculpture, which is now on display in K’s bedroom…

K's tree
K’s Tree is proudly displayed on his desk.
In addition to Canada House Gallery, Paul’s work is available at the Ironcraft Gallery, which is located in Invermere, BC.

Several of his larger pieces reside in municipal collections and he has a large bench sculpture in the Castlegar Sculpture Walk currently underway.

Paul has one other video on his YouTube channel if you’re interested: the creation of the Harris Gate.

All-in-all it was a very enjoyable morning and Paul made it a stand-out memory for K.

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  1. Pingback: Exposure Photo Festival 2016 – Banff and Canmore | Out and About with the GeoKs

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