It’s the busiest time of the year for Nanoose Bay artists Dave and Debra Kasprick as they prepare their work for pre-Christmas craft shows and studio tour. What started out as hobbies for the local couple has turned into “full time, all the time” work as they churn out their own unique fabrications. The metal art sculptures Dave creates at Red Cod Forge are widely recognized and admired across the region and beyond and he has his hands full with commission requests, while Debra’s hand crafted stone Jewellery has evolved into sophisticated pieces that reflect her unique style, attractive to local purchasers and tourists.
Despite the long hours and hard work they put into their crafts, the couple has always made time to give back to their community. They may sell their products far and wide, but their strong bond with Nanoose Bay compels them to give a helping hand to their most vulnerable neighbours, especially this time of the year. Every Christmas for the past several years they have donated a portion of their proceeds from their pre-Christmas studio tour to the Nanoose Community Services, formerly the Community Cupboard. They also host a donation box during their open studio event and offer up one of Dave’s sculptures as a raffle prize for those who donate $5 or more. Fellow artist Roy Hancliffe also provides one of his famous bird photographs as a prize. The draw takes place at the end of the three-day tour.
“Its easy to help out this way and we like to do it, we’ve been raising money for the community cupboard (now called NCS) since we started the Christmas Crawl – Nanoose Bay Studio Tour here six or seven years ago,” Debra says. “We’ve been part of this community for many years and are happy to support it”.
Debra operated a horse boarding stable for 28 years on their property, just off Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay, before she took up her craft. The evolution from hobby to full fledged business, ‘Affinity Stone Jewellery and Design’, took about four years of dedicated work and attending a lot of shows and tours, she said.
“I absolutely love it when someone sees one of my pieces and connects with it in a big way and they want to show it off”, she smiles. One of her pieces was purchased by a local woman for her daughter who works in the White House. “When someone sees something special in what I do, it makes it all worthwhile”, she adds.
Dave enjoys creating his whimsical sculptures best, those that occur to him as he observes a piece of recycled metal and imagines what it could represent, a horse’s head or an octopus wrapped around a rock or a long-legged girl on a skate board. However, his bread-and-butter is his commission work, sometimes a gate or fireplace piece to adorn a new home. Their son, Ryder is beginning to get involved in Dave’s work as well. Their daughter Shelby “says she’s not an artist”, Debra laughs.
Despite their success, Debra and Dave are matter-of-fact about their life, their work and their homes, the one here in Nanoose and their winter get-away home in Mexico. They are proud to be part of “an amazing art community” here on the island and recognize the ‘outstanding’ talent of so many of the colleagues they work with. They feel fortunate to be part of such a vibrant community and are happy to share that success by helping out neighbours when they can.