Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Another year is about to go, and I think that many of us are happy to see 2009 coming. It's been a long tough year for many many people, and we can all look for the new hope and promise the new year brings.

We have our first art show in Eugene, Oregon in about three weeks. Then we have one show per month until June when we really start hitting our stride. Check our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com and click the Show Schedule link. I try to keep everything updated at least two months in advance.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall California Tour

Mackie and I just returned from the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and Danville Fall Festival; both of these are in California. The weather was absolutely beautiful! Well Sunday was a little gray in Half Moon Bay.

We have three shows remaining this year and they are all posted on our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com . Mackie will be in Pasco and Spokane in Novemeber, and I'll be in Olympia in November too. These will be our final shows until next summer when we'll be in Walnut Creek during the first week in June at their art and wine festival.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Candy Dance

An art show takes once each year in Genoa, Nevada called the Candy Dance. It started about 80 years ago with the local ladies made candy and danced in the streets to pass out the candy.

Genoa is near Carson City, Nevada and one of our favorite art shows of the year. The weather is crisp and cool in September and Genoa is one of the cutest communities that we've ever been in. There are no street lights and only one stop sign that I can think of. The town places straw bales at all of the streets about a mile from the center of town and haul the people in on hay wagons.

About 40,000 people show up from all over to attend the art show, buy some candy, and help out the local community.

If you get a chance, come and see us at the Morman Station State Park in Genoa, Nevada each September.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lafayette Art and Wine Festival

Mackie and I were in Lafayette last weekend and had a blast! This is a great town in east bay California. This was our third year and each year we have a better time than the previous one.
Mackie is in Reno this week waiting for me to join her tomorrow and then we're off to the Candy Dance in Genoa, Nevada. I can talk about Genoa all day, but I'm going to wait until next week to talk about that. Well, here's a teaser. Genoa is a small village southwest of Carson City on the way to South Lake Tahoe. It sits next to the mountains and doesn't have a stop light. They block off the streets and about 40,000 people - that's correct people - descend on the community for three fun-filled days. Last year was our first year here and it was lots of fun. There is a link on our show schedule to the city's website.

We're down to the last seven art shows of this year, and even though we are running two hundred miles an hour, we couldn't be having more fun...Life is good!

This photo is of some new pieces that I've been working on. The shark on the left is for a San Jose Sharks fan. He was blown away when he picked it up at the show! That's a Tilly bird on the right. I have no idea why it's a Tilly bird; Mackie came up with the name and it stuck with us.

We'll be coming up with more fun art and displaying it soon. Check the show schedule on our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com for where we are going to be at next!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Art Head

Fall is starting to come to the Pacific Northwest and people seem to be doing a bit more remodeling instead of upgrading to another house. We were able to salvage a bunch of these steel balls that were made as part of fence decorations. It dawned on us that these looked like heads. Here's one of these balls that I turned into a face.

This is Billy Biker. His body is created from a crankshaft from a Toro lawn tractor from a local golf course. I sculpted his motorcycle from pieces of rebar, round steel, and custom wheels that I cut pirate symbols in from sheet metal. He will be at a show soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tapestry in Talent

Mackie will be in San Jose for the Tapestry in Talent show this weekend. It's our first time exhibiting here and unfortunately, I have to stay at home and keep building. I'm one of the luckiest people in the world that I love what I do and able to share it with you.

This photo shows some of the recycled work that we had during our past couple of shows. Notice that I had some warm-weather gear on a few weeks back. We've had some 30 degree temperature swings during August. Litterly, it's been 100 on one day and between 68-72 the next. Eesh. It's August for crying-out-loud.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

June, July, August...Oh My!

Time flys when one is having fun...Or in our case...art shows.

Mackie and I just returned from the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts and she is heading to San Jose for the Tapestry in Talent this Thursday. We are right smack dab in the middle of our busy season and it leaves little time for anything else.

But really. It's all about the art with us. We get so excited with what we are creating that everything else becomes second in our lives. For three more months, we'll be at shows in California, Nevada, and Washington. See our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com for our latest schedule. We hope to see you soon!

Joe and Mackie.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Mackie and I just returned from a long overdue vacation. I say long overdue because it was 2000 since we last went on one. How is that possible you ask...

We spend about 30 weekends a year doing shows throughout five western states with occasional runs to the midwest and east coast. While both of us love to create art, and we don't think of this as work, the real work comes when we start getting ready for the show. Here's the list of steps we go through:
  • load the trailer
  • perform any necessary maintenance on the truck
  • stock the camper
  • hook up the trailer
  • check the lights
  • check the breaks
  • drive to the show (average is 6 hours)
  • set up for the show (approximately 2-3 hours)
  • meet and greet you all
  • tear down at the show
  • drive home
It sounds like a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun. The joy of seeing people's faces that see our creations is incredible. It's quite humbling when people invest in one of our pieces of art.

The beauty about vacation is that we both feel rejuvenated and have new experiences that we'll soon be presenting at upcoming shows. The Florida sunsets, the wide range of wildlife, and the weather are already evident in our new creations.

We'll see you at a show soon!

Joe and Mackie

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring and Recycled Art

Mackie and I are at the Canby, Oregon fairgrounds for the Master Gardener's show this weekend. The weatherman's prediction was as good as usual...about 180 degrees from what they claimed. Nevertheless, this is a pretty enjoyable show to attend and for us to do.

The fairgrounds provide for wide aisles and make it easy for everyone to get around. There is a good supply of plants, and most of this year's art is decent. There is quite a bit of metal art at this show...some good and some imported items.

Mackie will be at the Spokane Community College next weekend for their annual garden art show. That will be our last show in the Portland-Vancouver area until the last weekend in June when we do the recycled art show in Vancouver at Ester Short Park.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Kinetic Art

I've been working on a number of kinetic pieces for the last few years and this is the latest work that I've just finished. I decided to work with mild steel for the propeller and the moon head because of the cost for stainless steel and copper. Folks in general also seem to like the patina the mild steel will get once it begins to oxidize from nature. There is nothing like "nature's paint" I always like to say...But I sure like shiny stainless steel too.

This piece was created using an old bicycle's moving neck and pedal gears. It was some work taking everything apart, cleaning it, re-oiling it, and finally reassembling everything. The first one of anything new is always the most precious. This piece will be in our year, but we're happy to create something similar based on your vision.

Send me an email at joe@cliftonmetalworks.com with your contact information and we'll talk about possibilities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Mackie and I feel that it's our responsibility to take action in our own community. We feel very fortunate to have the success and security we have, and we attempt to encourage others to support what is important to them.

Over the past two weeks we're providing four sculptures for local charities including the Mt Hood Community College Scholarship fund, Serendipity Center, and Cares Northwest. The scholarship fund is self-explanitory, but the other two deserve some information.

The Serendipity Center provides specialized education and support for children that need something extra than is available through the public education system. More can be read at http://www.serendipitycenter.org/ .

CARES NW provides medically-based child abuse assesment and intervention program based in Portland, Oregon. It provides support and a place for these children to heal. You can read more at http://www.caresnw.org/

We encourage you to take a look around you, and if possible, give a hand to the many good charities that support your community

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Allways in April

"Allways in April" is our annual automobile swapmeet in Portland, Oregon. Each year brave souls from around the western United States and Canada bring their automotive treasures to the Portland Expo Center and the Portland International Raceway. There are over 4,200 vendor stalls in and outside the building on the Expo grounds, and over 50,000 people show up.

Mackie and I hauled our show wagon and walked the outside grounds earler today. We picked up some great beat up sheet metal, old tools, and some long metal horns. We're pretty excited what we'll create with our new found treasures!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kinetic fish

I spent all day working on a new kinetic piece that is made from bicycle parts. It's always fun to work on new items but sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to create a quality piece of art. I'm still working on the stand and hopefully I can get the kinks out and get some photos on the blog tomorrow. You can check out our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com to see some of our previous creations. The website photos are only a small sampling of our work. You can always send us an email or give us a call to discuss something you have in mind.

This is a shot of a large kinetic fish sculpture in our booth at our last indoor show. He's created from a plow point, pitching show, late 1800's buckboard wagon springs and some flat steel.

Often I'm asked how long does it create a piece of work, and it is a real challenge for me to come up with the answer. This is because of the countless hours I think about something before I ever create it.

There are times I wake up in the middle of the night and begin working on a piece. Or I may get started on something and put it down for a day. Do some additional work and put it down for a week. I have some pieces that I started in the shop several months back and it may be the end of summer before I ever take it to a show.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Opening Day

It seems fitting that opening day for our blog is the same as opening day for baseball in Oregon. The Portland Beavers are supporting the Fresno Grizzlies. While I'm not a big baseball fan, I can't remember when I went to the last game, this time of the year reminds me of spring.

Spring is a time when everything is renewed; flowers are begining to bloom in our yard; our art is new and fresh after we've refreshed after a long-wet-cold winter in the northwest; and this is our first blog entry.

First, a little about us. Mackie, my wife, and I create recycled metal art that shows how we view the world. Nature is a main focus with birds, cats, and dogs being a large part of our work. However, nothing is put aside when the creative juices hit! Check out our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com /Aboutus section. It tells a lot about how we grew up.

In the coming years, we'll be using this to share with you more about our lives and travels. Last year, Mackie and I exhibited in 32 art shows. I believe we are doing about 30 this year. We've been very fortunate that so many people have supported our creative work which in turn has helped us help so many others. Mackie and I donate a number of significant pieces to charity auctions each year.

See you soon,