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.