Blacksmithing & Metal Art

Find your artist voice through the ancient art of pounding red hot metal against anvils.
Manipulate steel for beauty and function.
Explore your personal expression during studio time in our downtown Nelson campus.

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  • The course is action packed and full on. The instructors are artists themselves so not only do you have practical information but real life lessons in the art world. There is evening studio time  where you can really explore your artistic abilities.

    Alexis Mainland

  • I regard my time in the metal shop at School of the Arts as an important milestone in my artistic career. It opened my mind to the possibilities of the metal casting world and reunited me with the timeless implications of blacksmithing.

    Eben Finer

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Kevin Kratz


“The experience in our classroom is akin to a student going to work in their own studio. Pretty much, from the time they walk in, until they leave at night, the idea is to be hammering, welding, riveting, sanding, drawing, growing hot from forging and getting dirty from assembling and finishing.”

Making big cool things out of steel, mainly recycled from industrial uses, has always brought Kevin joy. He’s been a metal worker for more than 35 years. He’s earned an Artist/Blacksmith Certificate from Sir Sanford Flemming College in Ontario. He spent 12 years working as a metal engraver with my father at our family business, Precision Engraving Co. Ltd. He worked with Kootenay Forge as a sub-contractor where he honed his production skills by making thousands of metal art products for the home. He has his own forge set up on his Goose Creek property. He’s  created many one-of a-kind sculptures and commissioned works.

Kevin instructs in the Blacksmithing program.

Kevin takes inspiration from nature and Kootenay life:

“I live rural, between Nelson and Castlegar, on a small piece of land by Goose Creek. My shop (the Goose Creek forge) is a 100 year old barn. I like being outside so, after getting some work done forging in the shop, I might head down to the creek for a swim. Split some firewood. Head down to the river and try and catch some trout. If it’s winter, I am taking Friday off to ski some of the best ‘pow’ in North America. I do a lot of vegetable gardening and have a couple of fruit trees. I raise chickens. This past fall, the bear ate most of the apples. I had a bumper crop of pickling cukes, so I fermented them all, Kosher-style. That’s Kootenay Living…”

Cameron Stewart

Faculty Assistant

Cameron Stewart

Faculty Assistant

Melody Diachun

School Chair
“My approach to teaching promotes transparent technique, musicianship, and freedom of expression.” – Melody Diachun

I believe that singers who are confidant, well-rounded musicians are best able to function, communicate and flourish. I also believe that songwriting is a craft to be learned, and inspiration is most likely to spark when songwriters are encouraged to be themselves.

I am a vocalist, songwriter, educator, recording artist, and JUNO nominee. In 2009 I was nominated for ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ at Canada’s National Jazz Awards. I have released three critically-acclaimed albums, and appeared on award winning recordings of other artists. I am a favourite on CBC Radio and have made television appearances on BRAVO, COOL TV, Joy TV and The BET Network.

My love of music has provided me with a deeply satisfying career, one which continues to inspire and challenge me. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with fellow music lovers, and believe this enthusiasm, combined with my education, open mind, and professional experience, make me a valuable asset to the music program at Selkirk College.

My own career has been greatly enhanced by a solid music education. An early interest in singing and writing songs lead to piano lessons and later to an involvement with the school band program. By age fifteen I was doing professional singing “gigs.” I am a graduate of McGill University’s Jazz Performance program “with distinction” in Jazz Vocal Performance. In the mid-90s I was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study with Sheila Jordan in New York City.

My learning has continued on the West Coast with an invaluable, fifteen-year-long education on the bandstand, in the recording studio, and in the practice room. I enjoyed a successful singing career in Vancouver for twelve years, then joined the faculty of the music program at Selkirk College in the fall of 2012.

In 2018, I released my EP Get Back to the Groove which reflects my love of funk while letting my soulful voice shine.

Instructor: Voice, Ensembles, Songwriting, Business of Music

Frequently Asked Questions About Blacksmithing & Metal Art

How many images can I send in the online portfolio submission form?

The maximum number of images allowed on the online form is eight. Please send a separate link if you would like to send more than eight images.

Links to an online portfolio are also an acceptable way to submit images.

Why do I have to interview for Craft Programs?

The interview allows us to discuss the program. We will be asking you questions but our instructors will also give you an overview of the program and scheduling. This is a chance for you to ask questions as well. We want to ensure the best possible match to ensure student success. The interview takes about a half hour and we will be conducting it in person at the Victoria Street Campus or by phone. We are currently not set up for Skype.

Do I have to have experience in the Craft studio I want to apply to?

No. Many of our students have completed a workshop or continuing education course in the studio they are interested in, but it is not a requirement.

Do I have to provide my own tools, materials and equipment?

Yes, each studio has its own supply list that is provided to applicants upon acceptance. Most materials can be purchased through KSA; however, students may need to independently source and purchase materials. Equipment such as kilns, forges, wheels, drill press, sewing machines, etc. are all provided for student use.