Eric and Dianne Schurman of Malpeque Fine Iron
Way Up West
by Jan Cox
When you enter the grounds of Malpeque Fine Iron Products, you enter a whole other world. You expect the creatures that greet you to start talking. This article cannot do justice to the wow factor of the experience.
Eric and Dianne Schurman are about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Malpeque Fine Iron Products. Dianne can’t believe it. “We never dreamed this would grow to this. We have worked hard, very hard over the years,” she told me. Her husband Eric was a structural steel metal fabrication welder. He suffered a serious accident and was unable to continue working with structural steel. But he did pursue his passion for forge work and blacksmithing. In 1998 they started up the business and in 2000 built their current shop in Lower New Annan down the Barbara Weit Road. Ten years later, Dianne left her much loved nursing career and took up painting. “All the designs you see and folk art, I have colored,” she says.
While visiting Malpeque Iron I met Kathy Steeves. Ms. Steeves was picking up her “goat” for the garden. She explained her new property is full of gardens. “I knew the goat would fit in perfectly,“ she beamed. I was thinking that Dianne and Eric sold livestock as well. Nope, the goat is a custom made iron fellow that will stand very tall and proud in the garden and serve as a mosquito/bug natural repellent. You may have seen the very well known “Bug A Way” developed in 2013 by Eric. It’s a small cat with a square iron box body and cute tiny legs. Open up his back, put in egg cartons or take away coffee trays and a match, and you have yourself a smoking’ cat. In 2016, Eric received the Outstanding Exporter of the Year for the Maritimes Award for the “Bug A Way.“ Not content to stop there, Eric now creates “Bug A Way” folk art in the shape of dragons, dogs, giraffes, birds—it’s a must see collection.
His work also includes lady slippers (our provincial flower), lobsters, benches, bikes racks, fire bowls and many industrial pieces such as huge outdoor Christmas displays. Dianne says, “Christmas is our busiest time of year. We are a huge tourism attraction as well. We have folks visiting from as far away as Japan and Australia. Right now there is a year wait for a forged blacksmith custom piece. Eric is the creative force behind every art work.”
Don’t wait for Christmas! Visit anytime or enjoy their Anniversary Open House, August 19 from 1 to 4 pm.
Freelance writer Jan Cox roams Prince County to bring Buzz readers her Way Up West stories each month.