WRITTEN BY PERRI DIGBY
Robert Taylor originally came to Sun Peaks to follow his passion and run Sun Peaks Stables. In the seven years since, he and his business partner have built the business up to something that is a significant part of the community.
Taylor has been working with horses since 2007, when what was a passing interest for him turned into a profession.
Taylor said he finds being around horses to be very revealing, as they react to people’s energy and personalities with no judgement. One of the reasons he said he loves horses and working with horses as much as he does is because of the way people react to them, especially children.
His work at the stables goes hand in hand with Taylor’s other interest—working with wood, metal and other textiles to create art. This began when a forge was installed at the stables to allow them to create their own bits for their horses’ bridles. Having the forge available also reignited an interest from Taylor’s childhood.
The forge connected him back with one of his first jobs, working as a blacksmith helper at the Pickering Museum Village in Ontario. The onsite blacksmith gave him the chance to experiment and brought back the long-held interest. Taylor started working with and learning different processes and methods to create unique pieces of art.
This involved creating his own stencils and brands, doing process like wood burning and even making his own knives.
The wood burning started out as experimentation and eventually led to custom orders. Taylor’s signs are dotted around Sun Peaks including outside Vertical Café in the middle of the village.
He has also taken orders for signs for people’s homes throughout the community and beyond, and takes great care and joy in selecting the perfect piece of wood to suit each project.
Since starting to sell his work Taylor has attended farmers’ markets and craft fairs to both sell pieces and show attendees his process of shaping metal and branding wood. From the public displays came another key part of what pushes Taylor forward with his forging, the way other people, especially children, react to it. He said he finds there is always a fascination with watching him work.
He said one of his favourite things to do is show people how he makes a “beam hook,” as it can be made quickly and still looks impressive, allowing for people to watch the entire process. It’s also something that links directly with his own past, as one of the first things he made was a beam hook for a friend’s mother. That hook went into the ceiling of a house in Taylor’s hometown, and he likes to believe that even if the family has moved on the hook is still there.
For those interested in forging, Taylor said his advice would be to start simple as the only real way to learn is to do. He cites the television show “Forged in Fire” which pushed him along in his work, helping him learn and create more quickly.
There is a lot coming up in the future for Taylor, both in relation to his work with the Sun Peaks Stables and with his art. He is attempting new things with wood burning and forging, and said he hopes to create some larger scale pieces that will be more immersive and able to tell a story, painting with fire.
More information on Taylor and examples of his work is available on Facebook.com/theforgesunpeaks.