Sep 12, 2016
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 over the next 15 weeks, 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.
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
- For Toby, choosing the path 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
- 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
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – Fleming College
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