Episode #83 – Toby Druce “Mid-life Career Change to Blacksmithing”

Toby Druce is making a mid-life career change to become a blacksmith.  He is from the Toronto area in Ontario Canada and has been a social worker with the City of Toronto for the past 29 years.  He has decided to change career paths and learn to become a blacksmith by attending the Fleming College Blacksmith Program over the next 15 weeks. Toby and I will be doing a 4-part podcast series, 4 interviews while he is going through this transition in life and through the Fleming College Blacksmith Program, starting September 2016, by the time this podcast is released he will have been in the program for one week.  This episode was recorded a week before Toby starts the program, which is in Haliburton, Ontario, and we are talking about why he chose blacksmithing and what he plans to do with it at the end of the program.

halliburton-school-of-art-and-design-blacksmith-shop
Haliburton School of Art and Design Blacksmith Shop

What We Talked About

  • Toby Druce has been a social worker and grants administrator for the past 29 years working with municipal homeless and street outreach programs for the City of Toronto, Ontario Canada.
  • Toby was first drawn to blacksmithing when he took a beginner class at a local high school, in their auto body shop.
  • When toby lost his job in 2015 he knew this was a great opportunity to pursue blacksmithing as a career. He looked at blacksmith programs in the UK and Canada and choose the Fleming College blacksmith program through the Haliburton School of Art and Design because of the condensed 15-week program.
  • The courses covered are; Forging Basics, History of Ornamental Ironwork, Drawing, Artistic Blacksmith – Projects I, Design, Marketing/Portfolio Development, and Artistic Blacksmith – Projects II.
  • For Toby, choosing to become a blacksmith was not for the monetary gains (which we know can be a very difficult path to financial freedom!) but instead to use his social working skills along with the blacksmith skills to further the work of social working organizations.
  • The program requires 600 hours of shop forge time and for each student to have 8 finished pieces to start your own body of work. The student will then learn how to photograph the eight pieces and professionally create a portfolio to present to a gallery.
  • Toby will be turning 50 in November, in the middle of the program and he couldn’t think of a better way to spend his 50th.

Guest Links

A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor  Fleming College

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