Thursday, July 31, 2014

1st Show Ever!

I don't even remember the very first art show I participated in so many years ago.  I have done dozens and dozens of them, Home Shows, Gallery Events, Summer Exhibits and near Christmas time.  Making Art is the fun part but if you can't sell it the whole experience becomes tiresome and you run out of materials.  There is tons of anxiety to a first show.   Are you really ready?  Maybe forgotten some stuff?
Will anybody come?  and what will be their reaction?  It is a bit like being on stage and there are butterflies for sure.  But don't you wish you had bought the first Van Gogh?
    The Show is this Friday, an evening event with live music and festivities from 5pm until 9pm and all day Saturday from 9am until 5pm at Deterring Orchard near Harrisburg.  You can get fresh peaches at the same time!
   This will be my apprentices first show!  Her name is Sydnee Hale and she has an eye for Art and with the steady hand of a surgeon she is already a skilled welder.  A self proclaimed "perfectionist",
it will be worth a pleasant drive into the countryside to see her creations.  Her stand alone wall hangings would be great as a focus on a living room wall and strong enough to support the most vigorous of vines when mounted to an outside wall.  Her musical flowing bench is admired by all who have seen it and at five feet long is more than comfortable for three adults or a pile of children.  She has created three legged trellises 5, 6 and 7 feet tall that are whimsical, stylish and classical.
 Plant Stands for any sized pot, only $35.
    Most items on display are without that "artist tax" that established artists can demand and you will discover that if too late for this season in your garden, all of them would make wonderful artisan crafted and one of a kind Christmas gifts!
 4 and 5 foot "gallery pedestals" with feet and powder coated.
   With my support and encouragement this is Sydnee's show although I will have my photo album there,
 Made in Springfield Oregon from American Steel
seeking larger installation projects, nice substantial gated entries, rails and custom work.  My signature
 Wall Hanging or serious trellis
"Stone Posts" will be there, 5 and 6 foot concrete slated posts used as lamp posts and pedestrian gate posts.  There will be a six foot beauty there, made of sand slate and bone grout.  The only one in the world and worth the drive by itself!
 Double Curved, powder coated "silver vein"
   If you get a chance come visit us and although you may know me, say hello to Sydnee.  You will be impressed, I guarantee it!
Sydnee Hale, after the perfect picture!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I Didn't Do It!

Seventeen year old girl!  Sounds like two cuss words in a row!  Not really, I have faith in the younger generation and having two daughters of my own I realize that girls can do anything a boy can do and sometimes better!  These are her benches, a crowning of her efforts of the summer working with me.  The pleasure has been mine and the learning and skills developed all hers and she is very good!
I have taught people welding before.  It is pretty easy, I can teach you to weld in five minutes but I can't teach enthusiasm or learning to deal with the dirt.  Welding is messy, dirty and noisy.  You have to want to do it or it just doesn't happen.  Like most learning in life.
It is fun to watch her.  She totally gets lost in her creations, all in a good way.  Focused and caring, each bend and weld better than the last.  She has made a lot this summer spending four or five hours every day at my shop, churning out trellises and plant stands, benches and garden art.
Next weekend is "The Art Show" and a 10' x 20' space I was talked into at the last show I did.  I have done so many of these over the years, probably a hundred!  This one will be hers and I will have nothing there, except maybe my apprentice herself!  That could be my best art ever!
Oh, I am sure she always had it in her, I just pushed and nudged and she fell right into it.
This whole experience reminds me of when I was a teacher and that question good teachers ponder.  Do you teach the student or do you teach the subject?  I never felt the subject was that important and my job was encouragement, providing a flashlight in the dark.  
What a great experience!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nice Place to Play

My backyard invites activity, always casting a spell of something going on.  It is a city lot about 100' x
160' and is almost equally divided diagonally by a drainage ditch that snakes throughout  the city.  When it was for sale in 1972 most people didn't like that feature, divided when they were after a flat lot with a manicured lawn.  I saw it as an advantage, a proper divisional "his and hers" or a more industrial farm side and a residential side, naturally and permanently divided.  I bought this little third acre for $8,275. (no typo there!) fifteen hundred down and $87 per month, two bedroom, nine hundred square feet built right on the ground.  A Real Fixer-Upper!  Over the years (42!) it has changed a lot, like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, pretty much unrecognizable  from its beginnings.
I saved 400 square feet of the original house so we would have a place to live as I added 2,000 square feet to it and the industrial side has transformed as well.
    The first structure I built was on that side, an 8' x 12' greenhouse, 40 years ago and still standing although it too has been remodelled a few times.  This triangle has been one huge tomato patch, a hundred and sixty feet all the way to the street.  The entire area has been a jungle gym with balance beams and climbing bars, tire swings and cheap throw away swimming pools.  A wonderland for my kids and their friends.  I think I was the first in this town to raise chickens and they kept the area clear of snails and pretty much weed free for years.  We have had two dogs over the years and this was heaven for them too.
   About 20 years ago I built a shop/studio and office at the back section of this area and I added a stone, concrete and steel bridge to cross the drainage ditch.  With my children I built the little garden pool, a plunge pool 3' deep and 14' x 8'.  I have had 20 kids in it at once!
My garden area is a little more formal now, its own raises bed really, about 40' x 40' and there are other little planting areas where I keep the blueberries, another section for raspberries and maybe 50 pots scattered around full of flowers here and there.
   A lot of it is concrete now, the area in front of the shop, behind the shop, from the pool to the greenhouse and at both ends of the slated bridge.  I did this years ago realizing that one day I would get older and wouldn't want to weed this entire section.  Glad I did.  I have lots of flower pots to distract from the concrete but this area I also use as a shop overflow and to display my finished work before it finds its permanent home.  This time of year there is a lot of activity, lots of railings, tables, garden benches, trellises and garden art all scattered around.  No one ever visits me and asked what I do!
   I took some photos this morning so I will show them to you in a minute.  One caught my eye and needs an explanation.  It is the watermelon 10 feet in the air.  Now you may ask, as I did, why on Earth would I do that?  The simple and truthful answer is that I have never seen this done before.  It appeared as a challenge to me.  If I am successful (difficult in Western Oregon!) and these are the 20 pound Simpson Melons, it will be like a coup to me!  15 gallons of really good compost soil, closer to the sun, no weeds to contend with and I climb the ladder every day and pamper it.  I planted a Borage next to it to attract the honeybees and that herb always does its job!  Much of what I have done and built has simply come to me as a challenge, something different.  Sometimes this works and, of course, sometimes it doesn't but the challenge is always there!  We shall see, I will keep you posted.  I don't think I have invented a method to grow melons commercially but maybe an additional space?  At least something to do.
Skinny dipping after 3!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Steel Jungle

My backyard, the area surrounding my shop and near my garden is a menagerie of steel, an obstacle course of completed works waiting to be picked up and installed at their forever home.  My pieces are available for adoption but they are forever mine.  I prefer a quick goodby, like giving away a loved puppy with no sadness or hesitation.  The more they linger here the more attached I become.
Today's tour of My Backyard!

 Borage to attract Honeybees! 
 Notice the Borage and Watermelon 10' in the air!
 Next week these projects will disappear and I will create new ones!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


It amazes me that some people are irritated and even surprised that facebook manipulated their emotions.  We are manipulated all the time, every minute of every day, that is what advertising is all about and everything is advertising.  Apparently they sent negative news feeds to some accounts and positive ones to others.  Like the sky is falling or it is a clear blue day, we are affected by our senses and respond accordingly.  Gee, ya think?  They spent money on these experiments?
   The bottom line is they want to find out what it takes to sell us something.  A car might make us feel younger, more powerful, even sexy, huh?  and in a bad mood we might buy more ice cream?  It is never enough to make a product, it must be marketed and sold and for us to buy something we surely don't need takes a lot of manipulation.
   But what happens when that is not the bottom line?  The same statistics and information they garner from these studies can be used to alter our political persuasion.  Yes, we are that easily persuaded and emotions play a huge roll in American Politics today.  Emotions are easier to manipulate than intellect and allow us to continue our passive behavior.  The far left and the far right "news" stations and radio programs are both equally guilty of this and we seem to like it as there are always more and more of these types of programs.  At least with both sides we don't actually have to do anything, God forbid, like read a book!
   "Sheeple" is that coined word that we have become and facebook,  political persuasions, even hate radio and advertising are not our enemies.  Lil' Abner got it right, "we have met the enemy and he is us"!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Good News Journal: I Hate Jerry Carlin

The Good News Journal: I Hate Jerry Carlin:                                                             Okay, I was not going to post anything on either of my blogs this week.  B...