Ryland Kontoolas was the recipient of this year’s Denmark Chamber of Commerce award for Entrepreneurship which is awarded to a Denmark Senior High School student each year.
Ryland began exploring building and making many different things at a young age. After receiving an angle grinder for his 14th birthday, he slowly started to collect an array of tools including a welder and began his building experiments by making gates and garden beds before building a forge and trying his hand at making knives and rings.
He had previously made rings from wood but with access to a forge he moved onto working with soft steel and more recently silver. He has bought silver spoons from antique shops and turned these into rings.
After sharing pictures of his creations on social media he found himself with requests from people to make custom made rings for them. He says this has helped his progression as other people’s input has fueled his own creativity. He has posted his rings all around Australia to his customers.
Ryland also has made quite a few knives. These are very time consuming to make although as he says very satisfying as you can perfectly tailor the knife for its future purpose. The knives he makes are forged out of high carbon steel.
Through the High School careers program Ryland has had a few work experience opportunities. After first experiencing carpentry it was when he worked alongside local welder Daniel Wright from Denmark Mobile Welding that he was sure that metal was the medium he wanted to work with. He is now in his first year of a Boiler Makers apprenticeship under the skilled guidance of Daniel and is really enjoying learning new skills each day.