Saturday, October 16, 2010

Manhole Cover

Every great piece of art work needs to start with an idea that someone passes by me, or I see some piece of metal about and then I build it.  In this case, this sculpture started out with both an idea I had at mind and a thought posed by a new friend.

I had two manhole covers that I picked up in a scrap yard to make into bases for a sculpture although I didn't have any idea what the sculpture would be.  There they sat at my shop for six months when Therese asked about making a seven foot tall fish sculpture.  Now here was an idea and a perfect base.  The manhole cover is approximately two feet in diameter and weighs about 60-70 pounds.  Perfect for the base of this sculpture.

I decided to use varying sizes of fence finials as a base for each fish.  They have a great round shape and will create some interesting fish.  I like these balls because they are hollow and move nicely when welded to the top of steel rod.

I welded one twisted piece of two inch flat bar to the manhole cover first.  This gave me a height that I wanted to work around.  A guide if you will.  Here I am twisting on the steel.  Yeah.  My back is still hurting after twisting on all that steel.  It's a real manual brute force process.

I'm still working on this piece buy you can see where I'm going with it.  Mackie is creating glass eyes for each fish and I need to spray several coats of clear sealer to finish this piece off. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I got a phone call, is there another kind, from a friend that was interested in a giraffe.  He wanted something large for his garden.  Now I'd never made a large one but it came into my mind instantly on what it would look like and how I would do it.  Esther, she's the good looking one on the left, and I are in this photo in Mark's garden - what a great setting!

A lot of folks ask me to build something and ask for a sketch.  I laugh because I can't draw straight or curved lines.  They get it as I show them my sketchbook of pieces that I've created in the past and compare the two.  They don't look anything alike to most people but ring true with my mind.  Hey, it's an artist at work.

Esther started as a propane tank for the body and steel pipe used for the legs neck and head.  I've used my plasma cutter to cut the pattern into the parts to create the giraffe look.  I've used bolts for the giraffe's head and pipe for ears. 

I love challenges and never turn anything down.  It's the journey that I love.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Camper

Oh the life of an artist.  I chuckle at the comments that I get from people at art shows about my art or me!  This year its been: "can you really make a living at this"; "do you drink alot before you start working"; "do you sleep at night"; "oh, I would like to work that easy"; and my favorite "I'll take it"!

The reality is that here's never time to be bored in a real artist's life.  Even when I'm slacking there's something that I really need to do.  Whether it's planning for a show or getting work ready for shows or the gallery, working around the jungle at home, or repairing a piece of equipment.  This weekend it's repairing our floor in our camper.

Mackie found this treasure about four years ago, and we've spent about 80-90 nights each year during that time.  I was taking it off the truck when I returned from the western US, and the bottom aluminum frame fell off when I took it off the truck.  Unfortunately, I know that was the start of a slightly larger project.  It was a good bet that the floor was starting or completely rotten. 

Our camper was made by Citation and is built like a tank.  I've been in several friends campers that is newer than  ours but not near as solid, so there was no doubt in my mind that we'd invest a little sweat and about $50 to make her like new again.  It was a fairly easy job to complete and we'll gear her up for this weekend.

Mackie and I are participating in our first east coast jaunt to Birmingham, Alabama.  The Barber Vintage Fest is this weekend and we'll be there!  www.barbervintagefestival.org