Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nothing Better!

I think I live for these!  This was my first BLT of the season and there will be many more to come!
More tomato than bacon but the bacon was special ordered and arrived by mail from the midwest!
These sandwiches only work with home grown tomatoes, not the store bought kind.
This would have made a meal for four!  but I ate it all myself!
My second tomato of the season!  Grown in a 10 gallon bucket from saved seeds.

Sliced 1/2" thick!  perfect!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Steel and Stone

I like the combination of steel and stone, both strong elements that enhance each other when found together.  This is "the first bench".  No, not my first bench, the wonderful achievement of my apprentice.  Her (yes!) first furniture piece and I believe it will become a collectors item. A graceful, five foot long, sleek bench with a back and a seat of travertine.  Wouldn't you like to have the first Picasso?  That discarded Rembrandt?  Sydnee Hale will become a "name" in the art world of steel.
This is one of mine, a small two seater with a slate seating area.  It sold at a Portland Art show a couple years ago for $495.  Like all art, it is worth more now than when purchased.  I seldom make them any more.

These are my Stone Posts, my signature pieces and what
got me into iron work in the first place. They are
concrete, reinforced with steel and covered in slate,
used as fence posts, gate posts and light posts.
Another example of Steel and Stone, this is probably
the nicest Ornamental Iron fence that I have ever built.
 And another bench with slate.  Colorful, strong and graceful.  Not made in China and didn't come in a cardboard box.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Apprentice!

There is something about Teaching that is special, a passing of Tribal Secrets and just a validation that I may know something of value to someone else.  Too much of school is based on secrets.  The teacher will lecture from notes not shared, throw out trivial bits and pieces of information and at the end, like a fisherman with his net, will give an exam to see what was caught.
   I used to be a school teacher and once it is in the blood it forever remains.  What was important to teach then is the same today no matter the subject.  Expanded Horizons.  The world is bigger than learning the fast food business.  We grow up in whatever small corner of the world we were given and so often we are stuck there, educated there, surrounded with the comfort of what we know.  We don't worry about what is on the "other side" and curiosity is restricted from our education.
I like to teach "success".  It could be anything.  The perfect garden, the best homemade bread, standing on a walking horse, writing a great paragraph, or what I do now: welding.  I like to teach away fear.
If I could, I would like to teach people to fly!  
   Finding good students is not always easy.  I can teach someone to weld in five minutes and after a 2 hour session send them home with an acceptable garden sculpture.  For most people the  welding experience ends there and I never see them again.  It is a dirty, messy and noisy environment and then, you have to listen to me too!  I go off on "off subjects" all the time, throw in some art history, talk of travelling, adventure gathering, maybe even some Plato.  The subject is not important, brain expansion, courage, no fear and success is the goal.  I can do anything...and so can YOU!  That is what I like to teach.
   Welding is a medium, a method, just a road.  Who knows what happens?  I will bet there are good brain surgeons out there who can weld.  There is no mystery about welding.  It takes 2,000 hours to get really good at it.  Practice.  The same amount of time can get you a black belt in Karate! or an associate degree at  Jr. College.  Devotion and dedication and discipline and putting the time in is the difficult part to teach.  In welding it is pretty simple to set up achievable goals and each session will create an always better product, something you can look at, examine, criticize and improve upon.  There is nothing quite like making something from the scrap pile and knowing that you mixed those molecules and put it together!
   And it's GOOD!   The satisfaction is knowing that you made it, the grade is in the selling of it. In order to make more "stuff", to continue this process, you need to buy some more steel, more materials for this art form.  There is another art show coming up in August and I am giving most of my space over to my new apprentice!  I think she will amaze you!  Young eyes and a steady hand and a will to make each job better than the last.  It is that "will to learn" that I can't teach but maybe I can remove obstacles
in her path and help set the horizon even higher!  It doesn't get better than that.