Paul Reimer

Cranbrook, BC

Paul Reimer

Featured Sculpture

Paul Reimer - Bonfire (hand-forged iron)

Hailing from Cranbrook, B.C., sculptor and master blacksmith Paul Reimer presents another of his twisting, towering metal works at this year's Sculpturewalk.

Reimer grew up in Crawford Bay on the east shore of the south arm of Kootenay Lake. The relative isolation of the small community - nestled on a peninsula jutting into a hundred mile long lake ringed by mountains - was a formative experience for him. It instilled a love of natural surroundings that remains a key part of his life to this day.

"Being out in nature and sharing the experience with my family and friends is essential to me," he says. "I've chosen to live and work in Cranbrook mainly for the proximity to nature it offers. You are surrounded by natural beauty in the city, strike out a half hour in any direction and you can be completely alone in the wilderness. It's wonderful."

He started his own foundry when just 26, creating hand-forged implements and decorative pieces that are both functional and beautifully made. Today, he employees six people at Paul Reimer & Co Blacksmiths while spending more of his time fashioning exquisite, one of a kind iron and metal sculptures. Most display his distinctive bare bones vertical styling; almost all have connotations of, or are inspired by, nature, reflecting the outdoor lifestyle he embraces whole-heartedly.

Bonfire is evocative and compelling. Standing twelve feet tall, a singular strand of metal twists and bends spiraling upwards. At the bottom it is wider, the swirling, looping ribbon of iron emulating the base of a fire. As it climbs, all loops and twists, it narrows, mimicking a fire winnowing in the night sky.

It is simple in its conception and design, but extremely powerful and moving in its stark, unadorned singularity. The minimalism that Reimer employs in portraying something alive and full of motion is exceptional.

Again this year he is part of several public shows. "Last year I had two major public commissions I completed," he says. "Between finishing them, lots of special orders from the shop, my annual art exhibition/fundraiser and quality time with my family, I feel like I've been going non-stop for a long time. I'm certainly not complaining though."

Those public commissions reflect the demand for his inventive, imaginative ironwork as public art installations, as well as his dedication to - and ongoing involvement in - efforts to beautify and fully engage in his community.

The first was an installation at the Chinook LRT station in Calgary. Made from 1940's railroad track and oil well pipe, the repurposed material was transformed into a gorgeous, functional bicycle rack outside the station.

The second piece was near and dear to his heart. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Key City Theatre, Aqkts ga Ktleet (Meeting of Two Creeks) represents the Ktunaxa name for the place where Cranbrook now stands. The sculpture features three of his distinctive trees set against a rocky foreground.

Clearly, Reimer is busier than ever. He's got his priorities in order though. Read the nameplate attached to his delightful work here; it sums up all that is most important to him.

Artist's Sculptures