www.cliftonmetalworks.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oregon Society of Artists



The Oregon Society of Artists is a wonderful non-profit organization that promotes arts through their gallery, and a number of different classes in a wide variety of mediums. This group has over 600 active members and has their own beautiful building in downtown Portland, Oregon.

I become a member through my friendship with the group's president William Woods. Bill and I have known each other for over 20 years while we worked together in the utility industry. It was about eight years ago through a conversation that we realized that we both loved and created art. My wife, Mackie, and I had already been creating and selling art for a number of years at this time, but we really kept it to ourselves to friends at work.

Bill had asked me to come up with a presentation about the experiences Mackie and I had and offer tips to encourage others in their desire to promote their art work. Bill has traveled with me twice across country, helped me with art shows in California, and we've exhibited together in the Portland area. He'd seen first hand the enjoyment we get from the stories and smiles that we get from the folks who've invested in our artwork over the years.

About 30 people showed up and we had a great discussion about the journey Mackie and I have been on, and how there are many paths for one to travel on their own successful journey. The hour flew by and hopefully I was able to encourage them to experience the joys they can create for themselves on their own journey.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Winter is Coming



The life of an artist is never complete and we're always searching for that next creation of perfection. It may be a new shape that's appealing, or a new color that looks good with that particular shape. I like the adventure and journey that each piece takes me on.

The top picture is a series of three tables that I completed from recycled material.Each is a free flowing organic shape that takes on the life of the metal as it decides on how it wants to bend around to form its natural shape. It's all about the journey that each piece takes me through. Fortunately, so many people constantly run great ideas by me for new creative pieces of work to add to their collection. All this combined leads me down a path to new ideas and paths each year.

I'm starting to work on new work for the upcoming Northwest Flower and Garden Show that takes place in Seattle next February. I've got lots of new shapes, sizes and colors that I'm excited to get out. It's going to be a great year.



Monday, July 30, 2012

6th Street Art Fair in Bellevue, Washington



There's only good things that I can say about the July art shows in Bellevue, Washington. It's actually three shows sponsored by the Art Museum (in the Bellevue Square parking garage); the Festival of the Arts (in the Cost Plus parking lot); and the 6th Street Show that we've been doing for about 10 years. Each show is unique and packed with unbelievable creations that are waiting to be shared and adopted by over 100,000 patrons.

This is normally the last weekend in July and usually the weather is fairly warm in the Puget Sound area; however, this year is the exception. Mackie went and bought me some big boy pants because I was freezing Friday. It may have got to around 65, but the wind was howling and that's where the coldness lied. But cold or rain never stops people from coming out in this area of the country; in a few months I'll be writing about Salmon Days in Issaquah, and it never matters how much it's raining for a crowd to appear. I've see nearly 100,000 people show up there in rain gear and galoshes many a time.

By Sunday the weather was wonderful and crowds of people were about. The show can be a challenge with the three shows and all the walking. However, the 6th street show is one of the most enjoyable to visit for several reasons including: wider aisles that doesn't make one feel so claustrophobic; shade - ah. the Cost Plus parking lot was miserable with heat even with the cooler temperature; and there's always some wonderful artists, like ourselves, that really enjoy the feel of the 6th Street show over the others. Sunday was a perfect example where two people that made adoptions came to our show area for the first time, and they were surprised by the freshness and quality of work available.

Thank you all for another great show - we're always humbled by the many people that adopt our loved creations. Each has a special place in our heart, and we're humbled that you've selected our work to enjoy in your life. We'll see you soon!

Joe and Mackie

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crusin' through the Summer



What a busy weekend. Mackie was at the Clark County Recycled Fair in Vancouver, and I was at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. It wasn't enough that we were in two separate shows, but the weather definately did not cooperate. It litterly rained like cats and dogs for two and a half days. Did I say rain.Oh...it poured.

Fortunately, the skys parted and a little blue skys appeared and folks came out in numbers. We ended the weekend on a high note and met a bunch of new friends. All I can say is life is good.

It's pretty unusal for us to get cold rain like this during late June but hey, it's the way that we roll in the Pacific Northwest.

This was our first visit to the Lake Oswego show and I was impressed. The core of volunteers were nothing short of impressive. They are very organized and they are all around the show asking the artists if they need anything, giving breaks, getting food and drink. Wow! Show quality is great with a wide variety of creative works. The folks in Lake Oswego are very fortunate to have a show like this in thier area, and it's certainly one of the best in Oregon.

One weekend off and then we head to Eugene for Art in the Vineyard on July 7 to 9, 2012. We're looking forward to our trip and visiting some new friends. Stop by and see us if your in the area.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 Show Update

We're starting to hear more about art shows we're going to be at this summer.  And.  The news is good!  We just got acceptance into the University Street Fair in Seattle, and the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  Both are great shows and we're excited about being selected to participate. 


We'll have lots of exciting new work that's going to incorporate lots of new elements into our current work.  Mackie and I are working hard and look forward to rekindling our friendships this summer.  Please take a look at our Facebook page at Facebook page and click on the "like" button.

See you'all soon,
Joe and Mackie

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tired Dogs


We just finished our second five-day show of the month, and both Mackie and I are ready for a break.  Guess what.  It isn’t happening.  We were swamped in Seattle two weeks ago and Portland showed no mercy.  And, our galleries are calling, “Joe we need ……”.  We are two lucky people.  The number of people that appreciate our work humbles us; I know that I speak of this often, but we both feel that we can never thank our supporters enough!

Fortunately, I believe we don’t have another show until April 7th and 8th in Portland, Oregon when we’ll be at the Hardy Plant Society show at the EXPO in Portland, Oregon.  This is more of a garden show and we’ll have more of the critters that we’re known for. However, summer is sneaking up around the corner, and we’ll be heading north, south, east, and west.  Next we’ll be in Seattle May 19th and 20th at the University Street Fair; we’ll have our hearts and wall art here.

You’ll be seeing some new changes to our website in the coming weeks to make it more reflective of our work that we’ve been developing during the past 10 years.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Northwest Flower and Garden Show

First, thank you to everyone that stopped and visited with us at this show.  We are constantly humbled by the support and encouragement that we receive from people all across the country.  Thank you!

We just finished a five day run at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, Washington.  It's five days of show (really six when I count the extra set up day), 48 hours of face-to-face time with about 40,000 people, meeting new friends, and lets not forget the joy of the Seattle Convention Center food.......

The show is at the Seattle Convention Center in downtown Seattle, and the building is amazing for it's maze-like organization that can send the most direction oriented person to leap onto Interstate 5 - the building is built over the Interstate, and the architect did a wonderful job designing a park and gardens that surround the structure.  Also, there's some real amazing art located throughout the structure from ancient Chinese urns to Dale Chihuly's glass.

I met an interesting lady that is an art teacher in the area.  We talked about my designs and work, and she asked if I could draw.  I started laughing because it's the one thing that I'm terrible with and expressed it so.  She said that she thought so and that I had a Dr. Seuss style.  She then told me the story that he could not draw, and that's how the characters turned out in his books.  Wow, to be in such company is pretty cool!

Overall the show was a great experience, and Mackie and I met some great new friends in Mark and Kristen our neighbors.  Incredibly nice people that we'll look forward to spending time with in the future. 


This little guy is a bird bath that Mackie and I collaborated on together.  She made an incredible purple streaked pottery bowl that's removable to clean and store in the winter, and I created the cat and stand from all recycled materials.  He's the People's Choice Award for the best sculpture at the show, and he was adopted by a great family in Graham, Washington.  This was one of the tough ones for me to see go.

One week from Tuesday we'll be setting up in Portland, Oregon for the Home and Garden Show so it's back to work for me tomorrow morning in the shop...I can't wait.

Joe

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Show Planning and Schedule - Photographs

It's that dreaded time of year when we have to start thinking about what shows we are going to apply to and what we're going to show.  Many people think that it's straight forward but nothing could be farther from the truth.  Many countless hours are spent: scouring scrap yards, creating samples, researching art shows to apply to.  Then we have to take photographs; clean up the photographs; resize the photos depending on how individual shows want them; and finally adding them online or to a compact disc, creating photographs, or even having slides printed (although that is really becoming a thing of the past.

I'm going to focus on the photography aspect for now that I've created a number of samples.  I wrote earlier about different processes with the hearts that we've created for years and really happy with the direction were going.  We're actually going to be showing mostly this new work at shows this year, and we're still doing our other work but it will be limited to about three shows.  We'll add more to our website once we get this sorted out when the "come join us" and/or "rejection" letters start coming in this spring.
Above is a four foot tall heart that is about 12 inches wide and two inches deep.

Mackie and I tag-teamed on taking photos today.  We hung each piece individually, and she took three photos from different angles.  Digital cameras are great because it allows us to instantly see what were doing; this has saved countless hours and developing fees working this way.  I then took the photos and added them to my laptop and began working the next magical steps...Photo editing.  Regardless of what anyone says, there's always something to do.  Pictures don't just magically come from the camera.  Almost but not quite.

I take the image and remove the background and then add a generic background like the one above.  I don't do any re-touching to the photos.  If we don't like the color or exposure, we take it again.  It's so easy with the digital camera and way quicker than using all the fancy photo-editing tools.  In my case I don't have a clue how to use 99.9% of them.


The heart about is created from recycled metal shelving strips of various colors.  Note how I keep it real simple and use the same background for each image.

I've finished editing five photos tonight and still need to work on the booth shot with our new wall art to get ready to apply for shows beginning next week.  Over 70% of 2012's applications are due by January 31st!  That's when the pressure really starts.




Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Side Door Heart Opening







Last night Mackie and about 50 fun art loving, food loving, and even barley pop loving friends enjoyed our celebrating our new heart display at the Side Door at 425 SE Washington in Portland, Oregon.  It was great to see everyone and especially nice to see the impact our work makes to people.

We have a great life and great friends, and we're very fortunate to have such a following.  It's humble to recall that this all started because of the metal scrap piles around the West Virginia family farm where I grew up as a teenager; my varied work career from working in machine shops in the Auburn, Washington area; to working with the cable tv, telephone, and power companies; to our friends who seek us out at art shows throughout the country, our art galleries that spend countless hours supporting our work; and, most of all to my amazing wife Mackie who continues to encourage me.

All these factors contribute to the way I look at what others discard.  The hearts in the two photos are made from recycled metal shelving of different sizes and colors.  I love working with metal exactly as I find it.  Of course I add a lot of elbow grease in cleaning up the metal with wire brushes, steel wool and then finishing it off with several coats of wax buffed out to a nice shine.  It's a lot of work but you are worth it.




The left heart with the varying color stripes is about two feet tall by a foot wide and was created from shelving that was about four inches wide.  I had to cut the sides off and grind the sides down before I welded it onto an inch and a half tall frame.  The standing heart in orange with the diamond plate is about 16 inches tall by 12 inches wide.  It's created from the same metal shelves.  Turn the heart around and their is lots of plumbing parts, tools, and copper springs to give it a real industrial look.  The red heart's skin was created from a piece of three foot by eight foot steel shelving that I created three cutouts in and rivited a piece of polished aluminum diamond plate in it.  I like them all but the red one is really special. 

I love feedback.  You can leave a comment here, and I'd love to get back to you and add you to our mailing list so you'll get updates on where we're going to be at.