“How about I just work here at the bench?”
I think I first met Sandra Dunn of Two Smiths on a tour of the old Double R Steel facility down on Ardelt in Kitchener. Her business, specializing in both blacksmithing and coppersmithing, occupied one end of that building. A couple years later, I cold-called to invite her to join the first Maker Expo we were launching. She agreed to both join and to allow me into her shop to do a story to promote the Expo. Then early last spring, I caught up with Sandra leading part of an international project to fabricate a railing for a cenotaph in Ypres, Belgium.
Which brings us to last week, when I walked into Sandra’s new shop at 8 Grand Avenue in Kitchener (Bridgeport, for you locals). Regular readers know my photographic predilection for makerly endeavours and good people. I found both, once again, at Two Smiths. Since they had just moved in, all their stuff was still in open crates and boxes, giving me a visual smorgasbord to shoot, and shoot I did for about three hours.
As I was wrapping up, we got chatting and Sandra said she needed some photos for classes and her web site and some printed material. She wanted to hire me for that gig and of course I’m keen to do it. I mentioned I had recently moved out of the co-working space in the old Brick Brewery uptown (soon to become condos) and was looking for a space to work. Sandra had heard that and invited me to pull up a chair to the workbench in her new shop.
Sandra Dunn, centre, is flanked by Aimie Botelho and Bronson Kozdas who are working and learning in her shop. “You want to photograph us dirty as we are?” they asked. “You’re perfect” said I.
It’s been a week now and the TL;DR is: Two Smiths is a fascinating nexus of smithing, design, fabrication, tools, projects, goodwill, talent and great people. I’m eager to follow along as Sandra and her crew fabricate the public art piece Spinal Column that she designed for the light rail train stop at Grand River Hospital. In the meantime, here are a completely unreasonable number of photos…