Sometimes you have to take a step back and acknowledge the wonders around you. It’s the old adage of taking the time to smell the flowers. Yeah, yeah, don’t worry. We promise not to get too emotional about it here. But, we do have to get it off our chests.

One of the awesome things about what we do is that we get the chance to meet amazing people. Although, for us, keeping our heads down, getting the work done, is not always the best mental space to appreciate them as much as we should. So, we want to step back in this moment and acknowledge the events – and people – of the last few weeks.

In working on our Handcrafted Manitoba series, we’ve had the chance to meet some of the best people. I mean it. These are people doing the seemingly impossible, with the courage to follow their convictions, following their passions, with the persistence of a determined squirrel.

They are all – to a man, and woman – creative, hard working folks, educated, worldly, and fearless. If we could all be so. It’s humbling to be around them. Truly. And for us, given that we’re in a creative field, and not long ago, stood up and went on our own with an uncertain road ahead of us, we feel a kinship these folks.

On the shores of Lake Winnipeg, we hung out with Viking carver Garth Meacham. We learned much of the Viking spirit – not only through his work (walking sticks, drinking horns and Viking heads) but also through great conversation. The spirit of adventure is alive in this man, an inspiration to be sure.

Sam taking in the glory of the big Viking

One of the coolest dudes we know, master blacksmith Matt Jenkins at Cloverdale Forge is always a blast to be around. We were honoured to spend a little time this week getting tips of the trade. Side by side, we hammered away and made a couple of letter openers. Check out the pictures and guess which one was mine!

One of these is amateur made

Our next stop was Ste. Anne, MB to visit reclaimed metal artist Pierrette Sherwood. She was generous enough to let me try my hand at welding a piece – although be it just a small one – of her latest creation. That was really courageous of her seeing as how I’ve never held a welding torch before.

Andrew learning some welding with Pierrette Sherwood

Carl Froese is one of a kind. A mennonite dude – like me – that travelled to the Yukon as a young man and got into traditional brain tanning of all things, eventually bringing the craft back to Manitoba. A truly altruistic guy, he’s looking to connect to the land and to be respectful of the Indigenous traditions of this place that we call home.

We’ve made some great friends and heard some amazing stories. It’s actually a little mind-blowing.Think of it – the very act of us doing our job has allowed us to meet with these exceptional people. How awesome is that?

-Andrew Wiens/Ice River Films