So I don’t keep up with my blog posts. It’s not like it used to be, with endless free time…
wait a sec, I have the same amount of time I have always had, I’ve just been selfish. I have been going through a bit of a Facebook thing for the past couple of months and it seems to leave me more tired at the end of the day. Anyway, summer is always full of racing and racing bicycles. Since I haven’t been attending races lately or doing anything that smacks of actual socializing, I have to call bullshit on that also. At least partially. I have been building some really progressive things with 650B designs that my customers have requested including a few more issues of the “CC rider” trail whip for the ups and downs and a new “slack jaw” version that looks like a slalom bike with 27.5 wheels and a longer fork. The type of thing you might carry to the top of your favorite run just so you can have one pristine ride on a brand new set of tires with perfect edges. I can relate.
Matt (my son) and I also did something really neat. Artists, like actual people, age and mature and change throughout their lives and careers. If you enjoy art and have ever had the opportunity to view an entire artists portfolio you can witness this yourself. The artist I am talking about is a metal sculptor by the name of Chuck Genniver. I have worked on some of his pieces in my shop in the past and we have become friendly over the years. Chuck is a pretty particular guy, and may not consider me a friend, but I really like him and like to work with him. He called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to weld his “signature” on several of his sculptures. His sales agent requested it along with creating names for each of his works.
I wasn’t sure how the process would go, but as soon as we headed up his driveway, you could see his sculptures and we were stunned by the size of his works. Many of them weigh upwards of several tons or more. We stopped a few times along the way to view the fixtures poised as they went across acres of manicured fields that surrounded his studio. I expected to see large powerful machines that could bend and form heavy pieces of metal, but instead it was nothing but some chain blocks and an A-frame structure. It turns out most of what I had done for him in the past were scale models of his ” real ” work. He described it to me as “basic lines and planes”.
As soon as I cut the engine, Chuck was out to greet us. I hadn’t seen him for a while and thought he looked tired. He looked my my white beard and thought the same thing about me I think. He was all business and quickly showed us the sculptures that we would start with and my job was to weld over his signature, drawn on with soapstone (a white chalk stick iron workers use to mark metal), and try to make it legible by following the white line that is only somewhat visible through the light of the arc as I weld.
There were twenty or more smaller pieces lined up and I quickly set up my portable rig and asked for a piece of scrap to practice on. I asked him if I could take photos, he said yes!
There are some very interesting things about these sculptures that I wasn’t able to capture with the camera. It’s hard to describe.
We entered his workshop through a very old wooden sliding door. Inside was adorned with shelves and tables positioned about the area, with each and every one covered in various interesting pieces of metal.
He sat down and carefully traced the object in his mind’s eye and then asked me how it looked. I didn’t figure it was my business, but it was simple and pretty like, it was something he had spent some time developing. I couldn’t help but think about how little I knew about his process, as well as how much I could learn about my own.
We managed to get a few things done in our own shop and here are a few photos of some recent works we accomplished. I threw in a picture of a fuel rail I made for a local guys Saab, while not our usual work it’s nice to switch up the scenery of what we are viewing.