The Blacksmiths at FireHouse Ironworks
A native Cape Bretoner, Grant Haverstock began his career in metal work as a machinist and later studied tool and die technology. Grant worked across Canada in various trades from British Columbia to the Arctic before returning home to Cape Breton to open FireHouse Ironworks.
Grant came into blacksmithing after many years in the metal trades. He immediately fell in love with the physicality, artistry, and creativity of blacksmithing and has been doing it ever since. Haverstock opened his blacksmithing shop, FireHouse Ironworks, in 2011.
Passionate about educating the public and encouraging others to try blacksmithing, Haverstock designed his studio to house four coal fired forges in order to accommodate hands-on instruction in the craft. It is the only blacksmith training facility of its kind in Eastern Canada.
Since opening, FireHouse Ironwork has produced ornamental and functional ironwork for clients across Atlantic Canada and has instructed students from across North America in the heritage craft of blacksmithing.
Grant Haverstock is also the president of the Cape Breton Blacksmiths Association (CBBA), a non-profit group with a membership of 50+ blacksmiths from across the province. Under his leadership, the CBBA hosted Cape Breton’s first international blacksmithing conference, Forge 300, in 2013. This well-received event brought top blacksmith-artists from the United States, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands to demonstrate for blacksmith enthusiasts from across North America.
The CBBA will also be hosting the next canada-wide blacksmithing conference, CanIRON X, in Cape Breton in 2015 to further promote the craft of blacksmithing.
In 2013, Grant Haverstock was the only Canadian to serve on the Board of Directors for the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), the largest blacksmithing association world-wide.
K. John Mason
K. John Mason is a fourth generation metal crafter. John learned welding, fabricating, and cold casting repair from his father, and traditional blacksmithing (forge welding and joinery) from his grandfather, who was engaged in museum and ecclesiastical ironwork, as well as toolmaking. John started in forge shop in 1962 and was judged a journeyman in 1968. He graduated secondary school in 1969 with electives in art and machine shop. After two years working in structural steel, a lifework search brought him back to the Chippawa Forge, which he took over in 1972.
In 1975, John took a five year job in Molivos, Lesvos, Greece on Keruna Refuge working on mandala gates and cornices and became director of project construction in 1976. Using Greece as a base, John travelled to shops in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Morocco and throughout the middle east, north Africa, and Europe observing and participating in historic techniques and design geometrics, while developing a love of the French Baroque.
Returning to North America, he settled in Jordan, Ontario; the very heart of the Ontario wine industry. Here, he completed estate work for 3 renowned wineries while operating an iron furniture and lighting business. He still found time to work in Manitoba with John Smythe (the last of the Bradley Hamer Smiths) and had three stints with the great Philip Simmons in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as in shops in Guadalajara, Mexico.
John has had 6 major art gallery showings;
. Armea, Canmore, Alberta (architectural metal art)
. Pumphouse Gallery, Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario
. AHA Gallery, St. Catherines, Ontario (2 shows)
. Quebec Bank Gallery, Thorold, Ontario (2 Shows)
. Ninavik Native Arts, Jordon, Ontario (Rose Table currently on display)
John has taught hands-on metal work training for secondary school and college teachers, and now devotes himself to his chief instructor position at FireHouse Ironworks in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton.