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Irons in the Fire: Hilary Peach & Pirjo Raits

May 26 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

Irons in the Fire: Hilary Peach & Pirjo Raits

On Friday, May 26th at 6:00pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books, Anvil Press Publishers, and Heritage House for readings by authors Hilary Peach and Pirjo Raits. Come join these two women as they render the unseen worlds of metalwork visible through words and photography.

Peach, whose fierce and tender memoir, THICK SKIN: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood, chronicles the two decades she worked across the continent as a pressure welder for the Boilermakers Union, will be joined by Raits, whose beautiful, award-winning art book, Out of the Fire: Metalworkers along the Salish Sea, profiles 24 west coast artists and craftspeople, who work in metal as their primary medium.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.

Registration is free/by donation, open to all and required for entrance. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/irons-in-the-fire-hilary-peach-pirjo-raits-tickets-628067896987

Purchase THICK SKIN: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood and Out of the Fire: Metalworkers along the Salish Sea at the event.

Venue & Accessibility

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site. Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.

For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility

Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

About the books:

THICK SKIN: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood (Anvil Press Publishers) is a deep dive into the secret language and hidden culture of one of the most esoteric heavy construction trades: Boilermaking. For more than two decades, Hilary Peach worked as a transient welder – and one of the only women – in the Boilermakers Union. Distilled from a vast cache of journals, notes, and keen observations, Thick Skin follows Peach from the West Coast shipyards and pulp mills of British Columbia, through the Alberta oil sands and the Ontario rust belt, to the colossal power generating stations of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. At times edging up to the surreal, Thick Skin is a collection of strange stories carefully told, in tenderness and ferocity, for anyone who has spent time in a trade, or is curious about the unseen world of industrial construction.

Out of the Fire: Metalworkers along the Salish Sea (Heritage House) is a breathtaking celebration of a diverse group of contemporary artists and artisans, who explore the creative possibilities of an ancient medium. From sculptors to farriers, forgers to blacksmiths, jewellers to metalsmiths, and weapons makers to welders, the twenty-four people featured in this book reflect the wide range of talent, skill, and ingenuity that exists on Canada’s southwest coast. WINNER, 2023 Alcuin Society Book Design Awards | First Place – Prose Illustrated.


Hilary Peach is a writer, recording artist, and producer of unusual art projects. She was a founder and the director of the Poetry Gabriola Festival, an infamous interdisciplinary performance event that presented many Canadian and international artists on Gabriola Island. For twenty years she also worked as a transient welder, travelling across Canada and the United States, working in pulp mills, chemical plants, refineries, and generating stations. In 2022 she released a memoir about this time, Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood (Anvil Press 2022). She has a collection of poetry, BOLT (Anvil Press 2019), and has released three audio-poetry projects, Poems Only Dogs Can Hear, Suitcase Local, and Dictionary of Snakes. Hilary Peach now works as a welding inspector and a Boiler Safety Officer, and is writing fiction.

Pirjo Raits is an award-winning, editor, journalist, and freelance writer, whose work has appeared in various publications and magazines. She has won numerous national and provincial newspaper awards for her stories and photographs. Raits was editor of the Sooke News Mirror for ten years, before retiring in 2015. Her bestselling book, Out of the Woods: Woodworkers along the Salish Sea was published in 2018, and Out of the Fire: Metalworkers along the Salish Sea is coming out in 2022.


May 26
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


23 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
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