Community Spotlight_Scott Hamlin
This month’s spotlight is on Scott Hamlin who has put New Ross on the map with his artistic creations and through his passionate involvement in community groups has helped shape New Ross into the wonderful community it is! He is a friendly face ready to help wherever and whenever he can. I am thankful for Kathy and Scott’s help in preparing this feature.
Scott was born in Halifax and when he was young the family moved several times as his father, George’s, career developed. They lived in Amherst, St.John,Yarmouth, Moncton and Kentville till they finally settled in their permanent home in Forties in 1979. In Scott’s early teens he would work on his Uncle Hencie Hiltz’s farm during summer break. This was the start of his interest in farming. He was also very active in hockey & eventually played at the “A” division level. Both of these experiences instilled in Scott the basic lesson that if you work really hard, you will have success. This turned out to be an ongoing belief for Scott and was put to the ultimate test when Scott was 17.
Scott had a life altering car accident when he was 17 that left him with a broken neck, and a traumatic brain injury. His left side was paralyzed. He was in a coma for 28 days. The outpouring of support from family and the community was overwhelming. It would be an understatement to say he had a long road of recovery and rehabilitation ahead of him but he INSISTS that it was harder on other people, especially his family, than it was on him. Scott spent 5 months in the hospital and the NS Rehabilitation Centre. His doctor, Dr. Arthur Shears, told Scott that in his career he had never seen anyone recover to that extent from such serious injuries. Scott is keenly aware of how fortunate and blessed he is to have the life he has. It turned out the accident changed the trajectory of his life in many unexpected ways. As mentioned before, Scott had always wanted to be a farmer. This led him to Agricultural College where he completed a diploma in Farming Technology. He then worked at Bonnie Lea Farm, which is where he met his future wife Kathy, who worked there as a counsellor. They got married in 1989.
Scott was introduced to blacksmithing when he was employed at Ross Farm Museum in the late 1980s. He wanted to learn more. In 1990 he apprenticed for six months with six experienced master blacksmiths to develop and hone his skills. Since then, he has been building his business and skill level, constantly evolving, and growing his artistic abilities. He has been operating the business “Scotian Ironworks” for more than 30 years. He attended the Halifax Farmer’s Market for 28 years and left when COVID hit. Scott has also participated in more than 10 art shows during his career. Now Scott’s focus is creating one-of-a-kind pieces that often reflect themes of nature, family history or can be spiritual or whimsical. The scope of his work ranges from client to client. His unique work is now in homes mostly in N.S. but also as far away as Europe and the Bahamas! He has even done some pieces which appeared in a television series called Chapelwaite (based on a Stephen King novel). He takes particular pride in his larger, more complex and challenging works including an Eagle Sculpture, Olive Tree Crucifix and an Archway at the New Ross Lion’s Park entrance. Suffice it to say, this choice of career has not always been easy many years of struggles, injuries and definitely some “lean” times. But… “do what you love and love what you do” has led him to where he is now, and he loves it!
Scott has also been very passionate about promoting the growth of blacksmithing. He was a founding director of the Maritime Blacksmithing Association in 2003 and continues his involvement and is currently Vice-president. Their biggest project was CanIron V in Annapolis Royal, which was an international gathering of blacksmiths. He has demonstrated at many MBA events over the years, sharing his skills and love of this historic trade and has hosted an “Open Shop” event during the New Ross Christmas Festival for the last 25+ years. Over the years, Scott has been generously creating and donating ironwork pieces for charitable organizations and fundraising efforts such as UNICEF, Hope for Wildlife, Ross Farm Museum Learning Centre project, NRRDS silent auction, New Ross Rink, Easter Seals and many other local events and charities. Scott has been a member of the New Ross Farmer’s Association for several years, most recently involved with the Rink Committee. He has been President of the New Ross Regional Development Society for the last few years. It’s fair to say Scott is a big promoter of New Ross and works hard to help develop economic and community growth in the area. In his younger years Scott was involved in the Church through the Alpha program, was a Sunday School teacher and a Warden/ Caretaker for a time. Recently Scott has become a Lay Minister and was inspired and guided by his mother, Peggy Hamlin, who was also a Lay Minister. He participated in various training with ministers and mentors. He plays an active role in church services and still considers himself to be very much “in training”. As Scott says, through his career and volunteer work he is “Giving back because of what I have received.” Scott’s biggest source of pride is the life he and Kathy have created together. We would both say our biggest achievement in life are our two kids-Rhea, who is the manager for the “Just Us” cafes in Grand Pre and Wolfville and Joshua, who is studying to be a doctor. We couldn’t be prouder of them! Scott often keeps an open mind attitude with trying new things whether it be with his blacksmithing or in other parts of life. He always says “why not try it” and jumps in! He does a lot of little extras around the community such as shovelling off the bandstand and church areas. Just because he wants the community to look “welcoming”. He’s been known to visit the neighbourhood businesses to show what he’s working on with the ironwork (often a large piece) in tow!