Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

So little time and so much to do.

We were fortunate that 2010 was a very good year for Mackie and I. We and all of our children our healthy, we've weathered the recession fine, and I was able to achieve my goal of writing more this year!

2009 will now have 32 updates versus 14 for 2008. Hey, that's almost double. My goal this year is to hit 52 - I'm thinking one per week.

There are so many new positive things going on in our life, I've been torn whether to add it here or start another blog. I've seen numerous people have several. Wait, I have enough trouble keeping up with one, but maybe I need some additional motivation to get to the pen and ink more (or rather the keyboard). Hmm.

Happy New Year,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Robots are Coming!

We spend 30 weekends a year traveling to art shows. Sometimes we stay over a week or two due to the distance we go to share our work. An example is that we're leaving for Tempe, Arizona on Monday, November 30th and we won't return home until December 14th. Two full weeks on the road without welding equimpment! What's an artist supposed to do?

I've tried my hand at several other mediums over the years with limited, this usually means none, success. Recently, I've been experimenting with taking recycled items that I've had lying around, (they are things that are not easily welded), and started drilling holes and bolting them together. Here's my first result.

This is Argus 1.

I started with an old Argus box camera for the body and used all thread for the legs. I believe the feet are some kind of a towel bar pieces. The arms were designed using Corel Draw, and I cut them out on our cnc. CNC stands for computer numerical control. It's a fancy name for a machine that will take a drawing and cut out parts based on the drawing. It's a handy thing to have in one's garage!

Argus is the first of seven robots that I've built so far. And that takes us back to my original thought. I have several boxes of items that I'm taking with us on our travels, and now I have something other than Sudoku to keep me busy. Not that I'm dissing on Sudoku. I just like to create with my hands.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Mackie and I are in Half Moon Bay, California for the annual Pumpkin Festival and the weather here is spectacular! It's sunny and the sky is a beautiful blue with light clouds towards San Francisco.We got here late last night so we could spend a few days of R&R before the show. We got our rig parked and spent the morning having coffee and walking around the town.

Half Moon Bay is a quiet hamlet about 30 miles southwest of SF. We came in on highway 92 through numerous switchbacks and turns averaging 25-30 miles per hour. There are 10-12 pumpkin pullouts, they are made to look like farms but I've read that most of the pumpkins come from Oregon. Go figure. I've heard that during the weekend that traffic backs all the way from the town out to the interstate. We made the mistake our first year of trying to leave town about three hours after the show; I recall that it took us over three hours to get back to San Francisco. Now we have dinner and go to bed and head out at three in the morning.

I can't begin to estimate the number of people that come for the show this weekend, but I've read estimate of over 100,000. It's real hard for me to estimate those kind of numbers. The is basically on one street and runs for approximately seven blocks. The booths are back-to-back down the street's centerline making for a nice venue for the artists and patrons that come to shop.

MLA productions - AKA Mary Lou Adkins - promotes the show. We do three of her shows and Mackie and I really enjoy working with her and their staff. They are real professionals and always have some little extras for the artists including: coffee and muffins in the morning; soda and snacks in the afternoon; and even suntan lotion packs for us. It's the little things in life that counts!

You can read more about the show at - www.mlaproductions.com/HalfMoonBay/index.html

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boise Art Museum Show

Mackie and I got back from Boise a few days back and in one word - HUGE. The show that is. There are a ton of booths in three defined areas. While there is some fine art, I'd say the majority is fine craft with a smidgeon of buy and sell. The show and jury do a fine job of keeping most of the garbage out, but invaribly, some of it makes it into most shows.

The photos do not do justice to just how large this show really is.

We had a great time and Mackie did a great job in setting up the booth. Hey, I did lots of the packing in; washing my hair; took a shave. Ok. Just the packing in.

The weather was in another one word...HOT. Eesh. They told me that it rained last year. Well, I'm the guy who always says I'm going to go where the weather suits my clothes. So no complaining about the weather.

This Friday we're heading to Lafayette, Califorina for their annual art and wine festival, and next to Genoa for the Candy Dance the following weekend. The Lafayette show is fun because we get to see many of our old friends, and the Candy Dance is just plain fun.

We do a number of shows in the east bay area and people are so nice, and that's not because the show thier appreaciation by purchasing our art work. People constantly invite Mackie and I into thier homes and are enjoyable to be around. Genoa is a little town, little is an understatement, that is between Carson City and Lake Tahoe. There are no street lights and the town explodes to about 40K people during the show. One of my favorite spots is the oldest thirst parlor in Nevada - the Genoa Bar. The place is cool.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Retirement on 09-09-09

I retired from corportate America today. For the past seven years I've held various positions at PacifiCorp, and do to the hard work of my wife, Mackie, and I, I was able to retire to focus on my art career. Most of this is do to the efforts, support, and hard work my wife puts in. I owe her so much and I love her. Now its on to our next journey.

We have nothing but opportunities and options that are available to us. Both of us feel fortunate in that we have so much support for our artwork at our shows. We'll now have more time to dedicate to what each of us are intrested in. It's metal for me and glass for Mackie.

Our next journey is going to be quite interesting for it's really two parts. First, we've bought a second house back east, and second we're expanding into the southwest this year. Next year, we'll be expanding to the eastern US.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Lights Are Still On

We're running down to my last three weeks at the power company. It's been eight years there and 35 years working in the utility industry. I've had a great career and was able to make a difference wherever I've been. It's also been the career that is now allowing my to move on to my next evolution and growth as an artist.

Mackie and are planning on exhibiting in west coast shows from May through October, and southeast shows in December through April. Our website (www.cliftonmetalworks.com) has our current schedule through December. We'll be updating our website in December with next springs shows as it irons out next year.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is it Really August or Is This My New Apprentice?

July was a busy month and I'm terrible at keepiing my writings up. So, here's my 437th attempt on a New Year's resolution to be better at this.

My last writing found Mackie and I in the bay area for the Walnut Creek and Novato shows. six shows later we are still going strong and getting ready for our September shows. That's in addition to all of the projects that Mackie has on my honey-dew list. Fortunately, Nathan, our oldest son is helping out with a number of chores that allows me to keep in the shop. And then there is Sherman.

Sherman is our minature Schnauzer that keeps us on track and our He discovered us when we were in Bandon, Oregon at the Cranberry Festival. The local Humane Society had rescued his family from a puppy mill. He's been a joy in our lives ever since then.

Back to the shows. Our last show was in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and it was a great weekend. The weather was especially nice considering that we had just finished a week of a 100+ weather at home.

We'll be in Palo Alto in a few weeks for the festival of the arts. I really love Palo Alto. There is an old theatre down town that shows older movies that has been restored. It's an incredible walk back in time. The theatre is decorated with lovely red and gold tassels across the front of the screen, and drapes seem to run from the floor to the ceiling. There is a mezzanine raises above the back 30 or so rows of seats. Its always been packed whenever we are there.

There is an organ player that is playing up front in the middle of the stage. When the movie starts, the organ and player slowly move before the stage as the curtin opens, and the movie begins. The Malteese Falcon was the first film we saw that, and it was my first time seeing Humphrey Bogart on the big screen. Incredible.

Let's see if I can keep this resolution.

I almost forgot about the fish. These are three fish that I created for Lloyd. He has an incredible back yard and now has a school (eight with these three) fish swimming around his back yard. Nice.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

San Francisco

One of the best things about being a traveling artist is being able to experience people and places that are just a little outside of everyday life. Today we took a short trip into Sausilito and San Francisco.

First, we finally figured out the two buses that from Novato to Sausilito. It seemed like it took forever. Fortunately, there was a Starbucks across the street. appropriately caffeinated, we boarded the 71 bus and headed to Marin City to make our transfer. We arrived in downtown Sausilito about an hour after we started our journey.

Downtown is very nice and every building has some sort of gallery, tourist shop, or restaurant. Shopping mostly consists of high-end gallery's with outstanding artwork. We purchased a bronze gecko for Mackie that is overlayed with enamel - no photos of it yet.

After shopping was complete and lunch, we decided to take the Blue and Gold ferry to Fisherman's Wharf. The ferry ride was about 30 minutes, and it was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon. The sun was out in full force and a light breeze covered the water. There was virtually no chop with the exception of full view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's a spot where one can see from the bay out into the Pacific and a pretty good blow was coming across here.

We arrived at Fisherman's Wharf and began our hunt for squished penny's. Those are the machines that you can put a penny in along with a couple of quarters, and then the machine (either manual or electrically operated) rolls a pattern onto a penny after it squishes it flat. Mackie has been collecting these for years, and San Francisco had plenty of offers for her.

We ate supper at Boudin's Bakery (http://www.boudinbakery.com/) on the wharf. This is a real San Francisco institution that has been there for as long as I can remember. Many year's ago, my grandpa Joe would take me to San Francisco for our annual jaunt on the train from Sunnyvale. A clam chowder bread bowl and a special toy were always part of the trip. Oh what good memories!

Boudin has an incredible selection of breads, and my favorites are the ones shaped like turtles, crabs, lobsters, teddy bears, and alligators. The bakers are really talented and enjoy talking to people on the street through the glass wall. They have two way microphones installed so people can speak back and forth.

After all that, we headed to the Mission and 1st transit stop and caught the 80 back to Novato. It's been a full day of treats! Tomorrow were back on duty to get ready for the next show.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heart of Joy

Last week we were at Artfest in Spokane, Washington. It’s one of the highest quality shows that we’ve exhibited in – ever. The museum facilitates the event and do an incredible job in the organization, just, and management of this event.

We had a number of new items this year and one of my favorite was Heart of Joy. It stands approximatley 6.5 feet tall and is about 3 inches thick. I created this piece beginning from the bottom with a plow disk, the heart itself has the structure created from flat steel and round bar, and is coated with skeleton key (skeleton key is cast off sheet metal from another manufacturing process). After I create the frame, I layer several sheets of the skeleton key around the frame until I get the correct three-dimensional look that I’m pictuing in my mind. That brings up another good point. I’m still working on my drawing skills, but I’m thinking that this is going to be a life-long effort and of course that is part of the journey.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Back to Work

Vacation is over and we're back to work. We just finished two art shows over the past three weeks, and we're getting ready for tne next three exhibitions. It's interesting how we've been able to create our art, and have the opportunity to share it with so many of you.

Three weeks ago we were at Art Under the Elms in Lewiston, Idaho, and last weekend we were at the Mother's day show in Spokane, Washington.

The show in Lewiston is on the Lewis and Clark College; it's a gorgeous setting in the lawn beneath the trees. The quality of work was excellent and we saw some new work that I had not seen in other places before. That's a great benefit Mackie and I get from traveling around the country. We get to meet great people and see things that most people never get the opportunity to share.

We've been doing the Spokane show for the past three years. It's an opportunity to share good times with other artists that we havn't seen for awhile and it ties in nicely with Mackie's birthday. We had a bbq in the college parking lot with fellow artists Doug and Judy Marco, but mother's day breakfast in Pasco, Washington was the real hoot.

Both of our families have a camper on the back of our trucks and we pull enclosed trailers. We had spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot and had dinner at a restaurant close by. We decided to meet for breakfast to celebrate mother's day with our wives. The next morning we got to Cousin's Restaurant about 15 minutes before it was open. Two cars pulled up and eight people got out that looked like they hadn't slept in a few days. After a few minutes they all started walking towards us. One of them asked, "have you guys camped out to eat her this morning"? I replied, "absolutely". Needless to say we had a hoot with them.

It's another great experience that Mackie and I have shared over the years with the art shows and our friends.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Clifton Mill

During our trip we stopped at Clifton Mill in beautiful Clifton, Ohio (http://www.cliftonmill.com/). Interesting that the town and mill is the same as our last name. Interesting indeed. This is a beautiful landmark that includes a restaurant and one of the largest Santa Claus collections in the area. There are over 3,000 Santas in a reproduction service station across the parking lot.

But, let's talk about the breakfast. It was soooo good! The biscuits and apple butter were incredible, and the hot cakes just melted in your mouth. The bacon, the sausage, it was all great!

Visit the website above to see more about Clifton Mill!

Sparky In the Snow

Sparky is buried in the snow just to the lower right of the bush in the center. He was adopted during the First City Arts Faire at Oregon City. That was a great show and we were disappointed when they quit having the show.

Sparky is a true testament that our work is made for the outdoors but just as comfortable inside. Please check our show schedule at www.cliftonmetalworks.com to see when we'll be at a show near you!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Metropolis Illonois

Well I may be out of time sync on our trip but who cares.

Metropolis, Illinois (the home of Superman - so they claim) was our next stop from St. Louis. Mackie is standing next to Superman behind the court house. The Superman museum is just across the street and has a number of trinkets for sale. Unfortunately, they don't have a penny smooshing machine.

We parked across the street from Superman and a guy walked up when we got there and said, "thank you for stopping in Metropolis." This was one of the friendliest citys that we visited on this trip and one that we'll go back to during the annual Superman festival - see http://www.metropolischamber.com/ .

The city is on the Ohio River where the Tennessee River flows into it.

We're Back!

Ok already. Mackie and I have made it back from St. Louis. We're actually in full swing with the art shows, and I'm sure I can come up with a few more excuses why I've been in remiss. Oh the stories I could tell.

Our vacation was interesting. We had the opportunity to visit with our daugter in St. Louis, visit friends in Douglasville, Georgia, and visit with my brother's family in Troy, Ohio. Along the way we ate at two different Cracker Barrell's and two Waffle House's (I'm not sure if there is a correlation here), and had Martin's Chicken and biskits for breakfast one morning. Whew. And all that in seven days!

There were many things to see, but the big chicken in Marietta, Georgia was one of my favorite. Kentucky Fried Chicken (no endorsements from me as I'm a Popeye's Chicken fan) had it built way back. I understand KFC was going to remove it at one time, and the community were up and arms. KFC backed down and it stands as one of the remaining roadside attractions from days long gone.

On the leg of our trip from St. Louis to Douglasville, we got stopped on the interstate between Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennesse. A tornado had touched down and crossed the freeway leaving a torn open truck and what looked to be an endless supply of firewood. I was very impressed with how quickly the Tennessee department of transportation re-opened the interstate - we were moving in about an hour! Hats off to those folks.

More to come later...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Laumeier Sculpture Garden

We're in St Louis and it's a blast so far. We arrived about 2:00 in the afternoon and met our daughter and headed to the Laumeier Sculpture Garden. It's located about 30 minutes from where we are staying at Union Station and I highly recommend it. By the way, the weather is increadible - nothing like we are used to in the northwest.

The garden is on nearly 100 acres on a hill side. The terrain is gently rolling and there are asphalt paths to most of the pieces. Almost anyone can get around and see the area. It's gorgeous. Allow yourself about two hours to walk the area.

Today, we head to Cahokia Mounds. It is the largest Indian mounds in North America. Mackie and I have a little archeological interest in us. We've visited ruins all around the US and Mexico over the years and are fascinated by previous civilizations.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring is Here...Well tomorrow!

It's a great day for art in the Pacific Northwest. Our last day of winter is here, and the temperature finally broke above 60. Daffodils are blooming and the Krokus will be blooming in a few days. Enough about the weather.

We've started gearing up getting ready for our show season. Mackie and I are coming up with new ideas and creations daily, and we're really starting to get anxious for the year to begin. We're trying something new this year. Ok, Mackie really threatened to hurt me if I kept gathering recycled items and hording them. So much to recycle and so little time. So, I agreed to work with what we have and really try to avoid stopping by the freeway so often to pick up lost chains. I kind of actually like it - it really forces me to be creative and come up with new ideas.

Silverfish is a great example of forcing me to work with what I have around. I created this guy from recycled silverware, a saw blade, a horse shoe, and some round bar for the frame that everything is attached to. There are two hangers on the back making it easy to attach this work of art to your wall.

See you soon,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shop Time!

We have a few weeks before our next show, and we'll have some time to get creative shop time. I just picked up a great truckload of lawn mowers that should create some incredible work. There are engine parts, body parts, and all sorts of odds and ends. It's some really cool stuff and I plan on working into some pieces next weekend. Watch for some photos.

It's hard to believe its already March. Especially, with the weather that we've been having this year. This year is going to be busy. With new work and summer shows coming up soon, it's going to be an exciting year.

Please check the show schedule to see the latest information.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We're back in the shop after a very long weekend at the show. Five days with most being from 10-8 makes Mackie and Joe a little sore. Even worse, I've managed to hurt my arm and my butt over the past two days. I'm not complaining and I actually see some humor in all of it.

Working with fire and metal have incredible benefits and challenges. First, I like the immediacy of creating art with welding steel together. However, the burns and cuts can be just as quick. But the good we can do with our extra work, and putting smiles on people's faces is what makes it all worthwhile.

There is a joy we have in creating art that is matched by the people's hearts we are allowed to touch. I've often heard other artists complain about potential customers not buying their art. It's always that the people don't appreciate their work, or the weather, or the economy. Most of it is bologna. The reality is that displaying art at shows is a business, and if you don't want to become the greatest collector of your own work - listen to what people are telling you. Yes, you have to sort out the comments to determine what's valuable to you and not. But, when you do your art will respond.

There is no greater gift when someone trades their hard-earned dollars for your equally thoughtful created one-of-a-kind work of art.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Portland Home & Garden Show

The show is on. Day two at the show and we're welding away. Mackie has decorated our gallery area beautifully. The welding area is set up. And we are on our way at Show 2 Day 2 of our 2009 season.

It's turning out to be a very interesting year. Our new work is fun, creative, and really inspires me to push it to the next level. Just like our last post that features the dragon. That guy started out from two rocker arms, and my thoughts just kept expanding from there.

Fortunately, the weekend is upon us and I'll get to take some more photos of new work and will begin to post them over the next few days.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Ah, love is in the air! Happy Valentines Day.

One of the best things in life is the privilege of having a partner that is a best friend, and partner to create art with. Mackie and I have been working together for nearly two decades creating art. Mackie is constantly searching for new parts to create new pieces of art. Because of that, we are constantly coming up with new pieces of art. Many times people have commented to us at shows, "you didn't have anything like this a few weeks back".

This little dragon was created from chain, steel balls, rocker arts, rake parts, nails, and glass. He's one of a new series of work that we're working on. He got started because of some new car parts Mackie came across called rocker arms. These are located in the motor heads and work with the valves moving. I'm not going to get any more technical than that. The point is that they are different and fun.

The Portland Home and Garden Show in Portland, Oregon this coming weekend will be the first time these come out of their nest. This is the show we set up the working shop as well as the gallery. It's fun because we can work right out thier and answer questions while we're working. Hopefully, you'll get a chance to join us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Bird of Paradise

There's so many ideas and so little time to get everything created that is in my mind that it's sometimes difficult to think what I'm going to do next. Good thing I like silverware.

Remember when you went fishing as a kid. Ok, maybe some of you didn't but I was fortunate to spend many a days doing this in West Virginia. We lived in Richwood, West Virginia near my father's mother, and my cousin and I would take our poles down to the river and fish by the bridge. Velveta cheese was our bait of choice and while I can't remember catching a lot of fish, I can remember seeing trout sparkling in the sunlight.

It was often only a quick glimmer and that was the inspiration for this fellow.

I started with a wire frame and attached silverware handles one-by-one. The tail is created from butter knife blades, and the horseshoe was for fun. And last was a piece of an old saw blade for the top fin.

Our next show begins on February 18th in Portland, Oregon. Check the show schedule on our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com for details.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What's My Sign?

I came up with the idea of creating pieces that were inspired by the zodiac and this is our result.

We picked up this digging chain from a recycled steel yard about a year ago. We had no idea what we were going to do with it and out of necessity, I drug it into the garage over the weekend. I was determined to find a way to incorporate this into a work of art. Now mind you, I've been trying to build smaller pieces, but for the past year I seem to keep building bigger! It's that old addage that bigger is better - hey, this is a "G" rated blog.

So, I looked at this chain for about an hour and twisted and turned it into a lot of directions and thought of a snake and a dinosaur...I decided that it wasn't the time for that and then kicked it across the floor. Actually, I didn't kick it but I triped over it...That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I noticed that it was kind of twisted like a scorpian and ta da! I came up with the idea of the zodiac series. Nice.

OK. So now which sign is next?

Stay tuned for further updates.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Support Your Local Artist

Metal is heating up at the Clifton homestead, and Mackie is getting ready for Superbowl Sunday. Interesting enough is that she is the football fan in our family. She's a Steeler's fan and I'm doing the typical male thing and picking the Cardinals....I like the bird....OK.

Back to more important things. Arrrrt! It's crazy the ideas that are running around in my head. Is it the new year? How about challenging times for the country? Hmm. I believe that it's my inner child. Yeah. I never wanted to grow up anyway.

I've read lots of articles lately that art shows are struggling to attract artists. Some have even resorted to reducing their booth rental rates. Don't buy into all the negativity. If I had a nickel for every negative thing I heard on a news forecast, I'd be a rich man. Matter a fact, just quit watching the news, and I believe you will be a lot happier.

I remember meeting a Russian woman that told me about her son and how they made it in America. Unemployment was high and major industries in the area were not hiring, and I was very fortunate to land this position.

The lady told me how they moved to the US with nothing and started a sandwich shop near downtown and now had five of them. They were moving into a new house overlooking Lake Washington and while gazing over the lake said these words I'll never forget. She said, "it's a good thing that we did not have time to watch tv or read the newspaper. Otherwise, we would have heard that it was a terrible time to start our business and would have failed." And then she laughed and said that she loved America.

The moral of the story is to buy art.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

The first show of the year is over and we're getting ready for our next show on February 18 - 22nd in Portland, Oregon at the Portland Home and Garden Show.

This is a cool show because we set up an entire workshop and work during the show. Welder, grinders, recycled metal, we bring a little of it all. We build pieces large and small and often create art by request. Imagine a young child asking for a large mosquito and we can create it right on the spot. Or a mask like the one above. It can be alone to hang on the wall or attached to a rock star, a robot warrior or anything my mind can think of.

Come visit us if you get a chance.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

First Show of 2009

The last of the art work is completed, the trailer is loaded, food is in the camper, and the camper is on the truck. Here we go. On the road once again.

It's a combination of excitement and apprehension, and a stomach-wrenching experience all wrapped up at the same time. Especially this year with what has been going on with the economy. It's always a treat to see what new things people come up with. Now this is not a typical art show that we do, but it is a home show and Eugene always has something interesting. This year it's a bicycle hearse with a woven basket for the casket. Hey there's a thought. Recycled metal caskets! Just kidding.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Legend of George and Sherman

There is a lot more than art that is important to Mackie and I. We have four children, are active in our community, and George and Sherman allow us to share their home with us.

The four kids are on their own and so that leaves George and Sherman with us. George is a North American Retriever that my father rescued about 10 years ago, and Sherman is a miniture Schnauzer that rescued Mackie and I at the Bandon Cranberry Festival.

Life takes many interesting turns and it never ceases to amaze me at the journey one takes. I never would have guessed that the these two would mean so much to us. They travel with us to the art shows around the country and while George is getting a little older, Sherman is just three and keeps her on her toes every day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wall Fish

Some people want a corporate career, what the neighbor has, or chocolate. But working in the shop on new work is what I thrive on. And, in about six months, that is where I should be spending most of the time.

I finished a few pieces today including this wall fish. He doesn't have his glass eye yet, but Mackie is the talented one for that. This is the first time that I've made a wall fish that uses a similar technique I developed last year with creating a frame and then adding skeleton key, I believe I coined the term but maybe heard it on the cartoon channel, over the frame. This piece is slightly over two feet from nose to tail.

Mackie and I are on the hunt for our new home. She's looking at a few fixers on ebay, and she just told me about an artist relocation program in Palestine, Illinois. I took a look at thier website and the last news they posted was in 2007. So, I'm not sure how much commitment there is for that program there. Paducah is still looking good,a nd I had a brief conversation with Pat from the city the other day and she was full of information.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Art and Sunny Days

It's supposed to be sunshine for the next week in Portland, Oregon which seems like an oxymoron to me. Anyone who's lived or heard about the northwest knows that it's cloudy and rainy all of the time. Sort of. Most of that is perpetuated by the crowd that hopes the Californians don't move up here. And, most of that is perpetuated by the Californians that have already moved up here.

I can speak to that as my wife and I were both born in California even though I grew up in West Virginia, and Mackie grew up in Oregon.

Living in the northwest gives us a great appreciation for summers. Part of that is from living here during the wintertime, and the rest is the appreciation for how beautiful it is here during the summer. It's incredible how beautiful it can be here from May through October.

Sunny was inspired about the sun that gracefully warms our hearts. He was composed from a floor drain and silverware. Knives and forks surround the outside, and two spoons created the sunglasses.

There is so much opportunity in cast-off items to create wonderful works of art. It just take some sunshine and an open mind.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Creating the Tilly Bird

I finished a tilly bird today. What's a tilly bird you ask?

Well it's one of those things in my imagination that I saw in a horseshoe one day. The video is an abbreviation of creating this little girl.

I started out with with working a body from some round bar and rebar. Then I wrapped skelton key to form the outer skin. Skeleton key is a by-product of sheet metal with parts cut out for another use. Next, I used rebar to create the legs and neck on top of which I added the split horse shoe for the beak.

This little girl will be at our next event in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks. Check the show scheudule on our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Upcoming Art Show Schedule

Alfred the pre-historic reptile in today's post was created from buckboard wagon springs, a motorcycle chain, two shovels, concrete re-enforcing metal, rebar, and some steel bearings. Man, I love my job!

Have you heard the expression - "time flies when you're having fun"?

Here we. The first week of January. And the show schedule is filling up fast! But we're really excited about this one - The Portland Home and Garden Show that is held at the Expo facilities in Portland, Oregon.

Why you ask that we are excited. This is the only show where we set up a full working workshop and art galery of approximately 400 square feet. We have bending and cutting equipment, and a full welding set up behind UV protected screens so people can come and see Mackie and I create art right before your eyes!

O'Loughlin trade shows put on this event each year and they do a bang up job. They take the back area of hall "C" and turn it into a large artist working area and feature 10-12 artists working in their craft. It allows an incredible opportunity for artists, would-be artists, and the public to interact and share with each other.

We appreaciate and salute the vision and opportunity that O'Loughlin has provided artists and the Portland community!

Come visit us at the Expo

Monday, January 5, 2009

Creating Bugs - The Movie

An academy award winning film producers we are not. But here is our first video of two bugs that we created for a lady in Nehalem, Oregon. The link to our youtube video is below. Copy and paste it in your browser and it will take you right to it.

I used round bar, a shovel handle, rebar, washers, and some glass to create these two items. But, anything metal is fair game. If we can recycle it, we'll create artwork from it.

We have our first show in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks. Come and see the new items we'll have this year.

Joe and Mackie

Friday, January 2, 2009


A lot of people ask me if we draw the items we create.  And the answer is yes and no.  Yes is that Mackie has quite the talent and draws excellent, and I am terrible at drawing.  It's something that I would have always liked to do but never really got around to developing it.  But that is going to change.

I've seen several of the Manga drawings and like how the simplicity really tells a story.  Manga also reminds me of my approach to sculpting.  Well, Mackie got me a beginer's book for Christmas and here's my first picture.

We'll be adding more sculptures and pictures in the coming months.

Happy New Year Everyone!