She was a study in exaggeration and communication. I was going to do something simple. A friend said how boring. Another said, try exaggerating. I went and sat at the Cullen Sculpture Garden at Houston’s Museum of Modern Art. All the big boys are there. Giacometti (sp) in particular caught my attention. Rosetta, communicating, became She Welcomes the Sun
A neighbor saw we had a for sale sign up in our yard. She said her walks down the street had always been joyful because of my art. “May I buy her.”
We installed a couple weeks ago. Everyone is happy.
But here I am last weekend loading more of the desert flowers to go to Houston. The shop is rocking, work is going and Houston looks more like our town every day.
Oh yeah, and “safety third”. Or trust your clamps. And am I going to miss “skiddy” or what?
I’m frantically pushing to get the fabrication shop in Houston finished before Monday. Work looms, sculpture needs installing, power just came up in a pure form and painting and remodeling continues. There are some massive changes happening to the building.
Sometimes the little things make the most difference. I had the overhang recovered, wood trim replaced and HardiPlank replacing the plywood soffits. Yup repainted and redone. But…it was the green trim (right from the Mexican flag) that brought the side of the building to life. A person walked by and said “This store being opened by a Mexican?” Jesse who was painting said “No, it’s a white guy”. Person on the street said “May be white but he’s a Mexican”. My response “In my heart”.
Hard to see for most but I see vibrant activity forming. Back to work.
True love. There is a building in Houston that I have always loved. It speaks to me. Well now it is really talking as it becomes the shop of dreams. Destruction is almost complete with a “take it to concrete and brick” (versus studs) approach. My tools need a home and my art needs space. So we begin…
And continue… Lots of “rat holes”. Those surprises when one begins to take stuff apart. I am really curious as to the thought process behind a window system comprised of dozens of pieces. It absolutely doesn’t make sense. Dismantle, clean, sandblast, paint and rebuild. But with some modern parts.
And soon the rebuilding begins. I want to be there in two weeks. My tools in place and projects coming out. It will be a commercial space but one where the love of the building goes straight to the art of the project.
And sure enough, we start putting it back together. Too fun!
I call myself an artist. It is an aspiration. In an effort to shatter my comfort zone I have taken on the craft of metal forming. It is a craft and one that takes years to be good at. Rather than go into it slowly I took my usual approach and bought the equipment first and headed for the skill after. I know what metal forming is, and I know how to bend metal with heat and/or muscle for a desired effect. But my skill is rudimentary. I decided my art needed something different so I followed the trail to the custom car restoration and build from scratch automobile sector. Was I about to get my eyes opened!
The gang at Baileigh Industrial design and build fabulous tools for metal forming, cutting and welding. Their tools range in size from tools for the enthusiasts garage to systems for a production factory. Top quality stuff. I’d ordered and received five different tools for a current project (line). Four out of the five tools delivered were well known to me but the fifth was totally foreign. I literally knew nothing about it other than it was the product of taking something that had an effect on the Industrial Revolution and refining it to an art form. The tool is a power hammer but the Bailiegh MH-19 product goes miles beyond that simple label.
Back to the day. When you buy a power hammer from Baileigh or even if you are thinking of buying one they insist you get some understanding of the tool. Wise idea. Without the training one would be able to figure out about 10% of the tools capability, with the training – in my case – I got a license to learn. This diverse group of guys last Saturday ranged from beginners and hobbyists to true seasoned craftsmen. I was the only one calling myself an artist (out of 20 plus) but I would have to say some of the skills I witnessed could only be called art. Taking a flat piece of mild steel and turning it into a beautiful curved (in this case a fender for a 32 Ford) object – in 45 minutes – was a sight to behold. And to capture on video for later review.
As a group we were able to work with professionals who watched, critiqued and demonstrated the “art” of metal forming. It is just the beginning for me but a leap forward from where I would have been trying to get it on my own. Shane Henderson, the organizer (good sales guy too), had all the tools set up and the guys that knew how to use them. These guys can build you a car from a pile of metal. Metal shapers, metal cutters and bead/design benders. It was all there to do with what we wanted and someone standing by to instruct in proper use. Wow. They set me on a path, not to build cars, but to apply the techniques to my art for a new and better product. This is going to be fun. The day certainly was. Jump start on learning, who could ask for more.
I never could catch The Palm just right in a photo. Maybe because it’s more of a concept. To me it was an “art strike” in the neighborhood for the one and only purpose of lighting up the dark days of winter – midwinter rituals anyone? It comes down on Tuesday or Wednesday since we have passed the “winter solstice” and the days will creep back to longer – then it’s summer again. The gods will make it green and light.
It could be our last winter here. I have more opportunity in Houston and our quiet “little” neighborhood is growing up. When you’re one cycle away from a teardown it’s time to ease out. But that’s good too. I have to find a bigger space for my ever bigger tools and the noise they make. When houses going in are two to three times the value of mine somebody is going to get a say on when I can run a power hammer. That’s good progress. We all benefit from growth.
So goodnight Mr Palmtree. And thank you Neighbors for the accolades. They are truly appreciated. I enjoyed it too. Happy New Year.
This is a project of pure fun. It will rest in a place for quiet contemplation or raucous fun with friends. The center is to be filled with blue green glass and it becomes a fire feature. Stay tuned.