ARTIST: Paul Reimer
PRODUCED BY: Reimer & Co Blacksmiths
MEDIA: Hand-Forged Iron and Recycled Horseshoes
DIMENSIONS: 16′ high x 10′ x 4′
PROJECT CONCEPT: “Enduring Connections”, is a sixteen-foot tall sculptural representation of Western Wheatgrass and is, at its heart, about building community. There are nine stalks of wheatgrass that represent the core values of the Town of Stony Plain. These values are the foundation that Stony Plain is built on and they are the values that will carry Stony Plain into the future.
There are 99 locally sourced horseshoes, hand-forged and transformed into “seeds” with the participation of groups and individuals in the community. This use of donated, local materials and the process of community engagement is, for me, the most exciting aspect of this project. Many thanks to the Stony Plain & Parkland Pioneer Museum for allowing me to use their blacksmith shop to host groups from the community and give them a hands-on traditional blacksmithing experience.
Blacksmithing 101 in Stony Plain, Alberta (a short video from the museum)
My greatest passion as a public artist is incorporating opportunities for the community to engage with the project, creating a sense of ownership and pride. Every person who donated a horseshoe will be able to look at this sculpture and know that they are a part of it – a part of their life is in that artwork. Every individual who participated in the forging of those horseshoes will be able to point to this sculpture and say, “I helped to create that – I’m a part of that.” Every friend and family member of a donor or participant will have a very real sense of connection to this artwork. Involving the community in the making of this artwork truly creates a sense of ownership for residents and makes “Enduring Connections” a tangible symbol of community involvement in action.
My journey to becoming an artist is the subject of two recently released short films:
“Reimer Reason” was selected as a finalist in the Dirtbag Film Festival in Kimberley, BC (April 2019). This was put together by two very talented local film makers – Levi Froese and Jeremy Friesen – better known as Leroy and The Bean.
“Forging Ahead” tells the story of how, at the age of 15, I began my career as a blacksmith. It was shot by Cranbrook’s local cable tv station.