That Is An Office?

You know, I once heard a wise man say “an office is what you make of it”. (OK, I have never heard that said until I just thought it up. But it is true.)

Some people need to have an office in the corner of the building with lots of windows and fancy chairs.

You know why?

That is probably because the work they’re doing is not interesting to the eye …. And therefore the soul.

Well my goal is to make things interesting to see. And therefore I love working in the studio and having it be my “office”.

There is just one problem….it is a dirty environment. I cannot keep a piece of white paper anywhere in the studio without it getting dirty. And it just doesn’t say professional if there are burn marks on my letterhead.

 

So I needed an “office” I could work from, while in the studio.

And I finally figured it out.

It started with these two tool boxes I saw at a friend’s salvage lot.

 

They were tool boxes for the back of a work truck, and were made to sit horizontally on the bed of that truck.

 

But he had them standing up on the end and I thought they were perfect for an office. (That was a stretch… but I do have an active imagination)

 

I selected the smaller one (reason unknown) and made the purchase. When it was back at the studio I started working on the shelves and repairing the dents. The doors would open to the side and there would be hooks and attachments for all the things needed in an office.

I added adjustable shelving holders on the inside and installed a light. A power cord was fitted into the bottom so I could run my chargers and plug in the light. A rack was added to hold my radio (in the future) while coat and apron holders were welded to the back. I toped it all off with clip board holders, a paper towel rack a trach can, and mounted it on wheels.

I had the whole thing sandblasted to clean it up and then had it powder coated a modern silver color. (kinda gives it a robot look)

But what makes it work is the weather stripping I added to the door so all that dust I talked about would not be able to get inside.

And it works great!

I now have a great place to store my paperwork and keep things clean in general.

If you have ever had a problem finding just the right spot for an office, do like me. Add wheels to the bottom of a toolbox and move it to wherever you need it.

 

I would love to see how you have solved the situation of a dirty shop and a clean office. Send me your comments or solutions to;

 

Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

 

Or use the form below;

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The Cat Table

I have a friend who is a cat lady.

No! not the kind you are thinking of!!!

She is not crazy, or old, or disheveled.

She is just interested in helping animals and has a great caring heart.

I was tasked with making a entry table for her home. An entry table is the one in the foyer where the keys and purse land as you walk into the house.

She let me decide on the design and, of course, I thought it needed some connection to cats!

cat table1s

My idea came out as a collection of cats with their tails up in the air holding up the tabletop. But a little experimentation showed I would be a need some sort of legs to aid in holding the tabletop.

I drew the cats on the computer and had them water jetted by Nash at Accurate Fab. in Wilmington. Those guys did a great job. The seven cats were all perfectly hunched down. I welded their tails on to finish the look.

cats 3s

But look closely and you will see something different… right in the middle of the cats is a small mouse hiding in plaine sight.

mouse 1s

It was a fun project and turned out great.

 

As always:

I would love to hear your comments or observations.

Use the form below or email me at

steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

 

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Accentuating Walnut

It has been a little while since posting anything about my current projects.  Part of the reason is because I am busy on several large projects, and some smaller ones which had to be done by Christmas.

Now you may ask, how do you do several large projects at the same time?

That is a valid question…

There are times when I just exhaust the idea I had in my head and I have to wait for the correct idea to return.  I guess you would call that a creative block.

(My wife calls it procrastination.)

Sometimes it’s a time problem and I have to do some other, more pressing, matter.  (like kayaking)

It’s all frustrating at times, but seems to be part of the creative process I go through as I design and create.

With that being said I want to show you a project I have been working on this past week.

 

A Black Walnut Side Table.

I had a piece of black walnut stored in my studio for about 10 years (talk about a long design process…but that is another story).

It had picked it up from a friend who was cleaning out some old wood.  The piece was about 7 feet long, about 1 ¼ inches thick and 18 inches at the widest.    One end was the fork of a branch and showed a great figured crotch at the joint.

While thinking about the design, I realized the beauty of this piece would be in the walnut and the base only needed to be a complement to that top.

The wood would speak for itself.

I needed the base to be just be simple but still  interesting.

in the forges

heating in the forge

The Build

I decided the legs would be made of 5/8 round steel with upended feet.

Upended feet?         Ok, I’ll tell you.

The process of upending  a piece of steel is as follows.  Heat the metal until red hot and then slam the end onto a flat piece of metal until the ends become thicker and add a feel to weight to the bottom of the leg.   Do that over and over until the end of each leg has thickened.

torching

a little torching is always helpful

upsetting 1

slamming it into the back of a swedge block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the ends

The ends were then reheated in the forge to heat a longer area so I could get distortion

to continue up the leg for several inches.  The effect was interesting and I thought it added the right touch to the legs.

 

 

 

 

I then added slight curves in the legs to allow the base to be more secure.  They were connected with small arches between them at the top and the bottom for stability. Simple curved cross pieces were added lengthwise to base.  The simple smooth lines were necessary but not over powering…just what it needed.stands

A metal rim was designed to connect it all together.  The rim was formed to match the curves of the live edges of the wood top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wood

I had been sanding and finishing the walnut as the building had been progressing.  I wanted it to show off the natural beauty of the wood. The walnut carries the piece and is just accented by the design of the base.

 

 

 

table finished

I think the finished piece is just what I had in mind.

 

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

You can email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or use the form/link below.

 

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All the Photos

I just received an email from a reader of my blog.

She was pointing out I had not posted all the photos of my recent “The Art of Nature” coat treeshow.

I uploaded …

(sorry, that is a lie. I don’t know how to do that stuff… I sent them to my web manager and she did it for me)

… the photos on my web site, but she reminded me to also get them into the blog.

The collection was well received and there are only 4 pieces left from the original 9.

4 are sold and one has been adopted by my wife for our home.    (the ultimate approval indicator)

I am planning to recreate slightly altered versions of the sold pieces.  I never want to make the same thing twice.  I want each piece to be unique…and I also I don’t like making things twice. (did I say that already?)

I want to do new things and create unique pieces.  There are exceptions, but that is where I am going.

Each piece is designed around native southeastern wildflowers.  It is a blast to research the designs and then figure out how to interpret those designs in steel.

I hope you enjoy seeing them.

As always, I would love to know what you think.

You can use the form below or email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

   Oh right, I almost forgot the link for the photos …see them here.

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Almost Over

There is only one more week in the run of my one man show,

“The Art of Nature”

anvil2

Yep, I’ll will be taking the photos off the wall and removing the pieces that I get to keep.

If you did not get to see the show… go NOW!

If you are too far away you can see some great photos by clicking HERE.

I also was written up by Christopher Thomas in the Jacksonville Daily News and you can see his article by clicking HERE.

But the fun part will be to deliver the pieces I sold.  I love the idea of knowing my work is in the hands of someone who loves it as much as I do.

And being able to deliver them and see that reaction again will be a lot of fun.

red anvilAs I said before, I now get to do the recreating, and redesigning of the pieces which sold.  I never want to make the same piece twice.  So each piece I make can be unique in the world…or… unless you are a Si-Fi believer in a parallel world on the other side of the sun…the only one in the UNIVERSE!!

I think it is nice to ponder (yes I used the word ponder, I am from the south) something in your possession as being the only one.  The only table, the only piece of artwork, the only handmade wallet even.  Things created by hand are almost always going to be one of a kind.  There are processes to make reproductions, and they are fine.  But having something which is one of a kind, is special.

Being able to know the creator of an object is special too.  That is why I love to go to shows where people sell their own work.  You can talk to the creator,  ask them about their ideas, their technique, their joy of creation.  If you do, you will receive some of their creative joy and excitement.  You will also  be rewarding the craftsman by allowing her, or him to share that joy with you.

I am off to a new project, making an outdoor tree about 9 feet tall…but I’ll tell you about that another day.

In the mean time, ask a craftsman his thoughts on a piece you like… you will probably make his day by giving him a chance to share that love with you.

 

 

 

The Art Of Nature

I had a great time at the opening of “The Art of Nature” show at the Jacksonville, NC Arts Council.  Last weekend’s beautiful weather created a great time to get out and interact with others.

There were a lot of old friends to see, and new faces to meet.  I worked hard to get around to all of them.  I just wish there had been more time to talk.

If I missed thanking you for attending the show, please accept my apology.

It was not on purpose.JackinPulpit1s

For those who were not able to attend, you can go to my web page and see all the photos.

The photos were made by Melissa Russell at “Melissa Russell and Co. Photography”.  And a special thanks to her.  I have been known to bring things to her studio and say “Can I have it back tomorrow?”  She always managed to say yes.  Even when I brought them to her at the last minute. It was just so nice to work with her!

While I am at it, I should also thank Cindy at “By His Design” who is my web goddess.  I called her and said I needed the photos on the web site when the show opens.  She quickly said “no problem, send them to me”.Jack in pulpit 2  Well, that was the problem.  I didn’t have the photos yet.  (see the above comment about when I took the pieces to Melissa).  Cindy managed to get it all up there and I was able to refer folks to those photos while at the show.

Nice folks doing a great job are fun to work with.

The pieces which were sold are now going to be redesigned and recreated in other ways, so that each one I make is unique and still one of a kind.  That creative process is what makes it all special.

Anyway, check out the pieces when you get a chance and let me know what you think of the work.  I would love to hear your critiques.

As always, use the form below or just email me at Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com.

The Show is Almost Here!

There are just a few short days till the opening of my one man sculpture show.

It has been a fun time getting all the pieces ready for the exhibit. But a lot of work.

And I have to say, work that I love!

I have crafted nine separate sculptures which combine the beauty of nature with the function of man.  Each one is a small piece of nature, captured in steel.

Here is a close up of the seashore sculpture, and the small crab who lives in his hole among the sea oats and barnacles.

the crab s2

You can see the rest of the seashore with the sea oats, barnacles and oysters, when you come to the opening reception on Sunday Sept 8 between 2 and 5pm.

Or just stop in anytime during regular business hours until the 27th.

The Jacksonville Arts Council is on New Bridge St in Jacksonville, NC.

I’d love to hear what you think of the pieces.