Cleveland native comes back home to build large-scale textile printing studio

Dan Bortz textiles

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Dan Bortz, artist)

The Time Change Generator in Cleveland is a fine-art-focused, oversized textile screen printing studio being built by me and my partner. I’m originally from Cleveland, but I left home in 2008 to attend California College of the Arts in Oakland, Calif., where I met my long-term partner, Lynnea Holland-Weiss. In spring 2018, we relocated our practice to Cleveland to build our dream studio. My vision is to create small- to large-scale screen prints on fabric, repeat-pattern yardage and garment printing of my and other resident artists’ original artwork. The largest scale printing that we will be doing is 5′ by 6′. It not only would serve as a personal studio, but would bring artists from far and wide to design and print textiles. From extensive travel, I have connected with many artists who I respect and admire. My overall goal is to create a space to experiment with exciting mediums for myself and others. I’d like the ability to share the abundance of space and simultaneously bring national and international talent to Cleveland.

HGR has been a total treasure chest of studio equipment, let alone the inspiration of just walking around and looking at weird old machines. Without a full comprehension of what I’m even looking at, all I see is material and shape, thinking about how I could repurpose something into a piece of art. Or use it in my studio. We’ve found really great metal push cars for the studio, a nice light table, furniture. There also are many other things that we have our eye on for potential use. Here is an old drawing of mine to show you how a place like HGR can influence my drawings:

Dan Bortz machine drawing

 

You can follow Dan’s work on Instagram at @JBECAUZE @TIMECHANGEGENERATOR or @LYNNEAHW.

An artist and a carpenter team up to create public art

JP Costello and Erin Guido of So Fun Studio

 

(Q&A with JP Costello and Erin Guido of So Fun Studio)

What services does your business provide?

So Fun Studio is an interactive design collaborative that creates joyful and lighthearted public art and products.

How did you get your training?

So Fun is a collaboration between two artists, Erin Guido and John Paul Costello.

Erin studied printmaking at Indiana University and urban planning at University of Michigan. She is currently a project manager at LAND studio, a public art and public space nonprofit in Cleveland. She is also a mural artist and has multiple works up around town.

John Paul started in the trades with a metal fabrication company and then worked as a carpenter. He now has his own design and fabrication business and works on everything from residential and commercial furniture to more unique jobs, such as a custom bamboo motorcycle seat or a twenty person foosball table. He is a self-trained artist and creates wooden sculptures.

Tell about some interesting projects that you’ve worked on.

We collaborated on an interactive art show at the Akron Art Museum called Please Touch in spring 2016. After we completed that show, we formalized So Fun Studio because we knew we wanted to create more interactive art works together. It made us so happy to watch museum goers have fun touching, changing, and playing with the art work. The world needs more moments of joy!

So Fun Studio Please Touch installation

TODAY I FEEL, a kinetic artwork with wheels that spin freely from one another, is probably the most successful installation from Please Touch. The sculpture is roughly 6’x6’x6′ and made of 15 wheels, each with 30 sections of hand-painted alphabet and punctuation. Users can display their “feelings” by moving the wheels and changing the text. Currently, TODAY I FEEL is on display at the Cleveland Public Library.

So Fun Studio Today I Feel sculpture

 

Since Please Touch, we have participated in gallery shows and created art work for public events. For example, DANCING MACHINE is a full-scale teeter totter with characters attached to gears that “dance” as you teet and tott. It was on display at the Ohio City Street Festival and Gordon Square’s Hip2BeSquare outdoor summer event.

So Fun Studio teeter totter

Most recently, we built I HAVE MANY, a 4’x35′ interactive billboard installed on a building rooftop at 78th Street Studios for the 2018 CAN Triennial, a curated contemporary art festival featuring artists from Northeast Ohio. From the ground, people can pull cords that are connected to one of four indexing gears to change the displayed words. There are 256 different versions of the artwork depending which combination of words in the sentence the user selects.

What materials do you use?

The recent interactive artworks are constructed from Baltic Birch Plywood for the main body, along with wooden gears or indexing pins. We also use metal, plastics, or off-the-shelf materials, like bicycle gears, when necessary for different moving parts. We normally use acrylic paint or exterior house paint for the added graphics, lettering, and illustration.

Do you have employees/collaborators or work alone? 

So Fun Studio is the two of us, although John Paul’s father has majorly helped many times with construction and installation when time is crunched. Our friends also have helped multiple times with painting the pieces. We are lucky to have so much support!

What is the mission of So Fun Studio?

We aim to use art and design to bring moments of joy, humor, and imagination to anyone and everyone!

I understand that you are HGR customers. How did you find out about HGR Industrial Surplus?

Word of mouth from other artists and builders. We remember first walking into the facility and the feeling of excitement, like a kid in a candy store.

What kinds of items have you purchased at HGR Industrial Surplus, and how have you used them?

A few metal carts and a table or two along with miscellaneous little odds and ends that sparked our interest.  We currently are on the hunt for a metal lathe and mill; so, we will be back in soon!

What inspires you?

Erin is inspired by street art, pop-up books, playgrounds, walking around cities, and anything that is colorful and happy. John Paul is inspired by nature, cityscapes, abandoned buildings, Whirligigs, and practically anything else with some sort of motor.

JP Costello catan wall
designed by JP Costello
JP Costello hinge stairs
designed by JP Costello

Q&A with Waterloo Arts Fest Artist-in-Residence Angela Oster

Artist Angela Oster

When did you know you were an artist?

I’ve always loved to draw and make things, but it took a while to consider myself an artist. I think it was after I developed the habit of drawing every day that I had the confidence to call myself an artist.

How did you get your training?

I have a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art and took vocational commercial art in high school. I also did a mentorship with Dan Krall, an illustrator and animator. I also practice a lot on my own.

What types of work do you create?

I mostly draw cartoons. My goal is to make them funny, weird, cute and kind. I also make small sculptures based on my drawings. I like to call them delicate monsters and wide eyed weirdies. In art school, I studied installation and performance art; so, I also am interested in interactive, public art. But the running theme is to invoke delight, whether it’s a cute drawing or a playful sculpture.

Angela Oster vampire cartoon

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by everything! Sometimes it’s a vintage greeting card or an old video clip of an animation or an antique broach. I’m a fan of so many artists and so many kinds of art, and it gets all mashed up into my drawings and sculpts. There is an impulse that happens.

What do you do when you are not creating art?

When I’m not creating art, I like to look at art in museums and galleries. I teach at BayArts and work part time at Ohio Citizen Action. I love to spend time with my family and friends, watch movies, swim, and go to flea markets and libraries.

Have you shopped at HGR for your work?

Yes! HGR is like a candy store for artists. There is so much raw material; it’s boundless and inspiring, and it’s affordable!

If so, what have you found and how have you used it?

I found some orange “High Voltage” tape to use in a public sculpture for Waterloo Arts. The tape was a turning point in the evolution of my idea for the sculpture, and that would not have happened without HGR.

How did you get involved as an artist-in-residence with Waterloo Arts Fest?

I have participated as a vendor for many years at the fest. I think it is so unique in that it’s a real neighborhood event. There are a lot of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. This year, I was invited to do a residency, so I jumped at the chance.

Tell us about the project.

I built an “Orange Removal Machine” — a community sculpture that served as a voter registration booth and also helped gather objects for “A Color Removed” at SPACES Gallery. I built a giant, open structure out of hula hoops and covered it with orange tape. I asked people to bring me any orange objects: clothing, toys, sports equipment, household items, etc. The objects have been cataloged and displayed as part of Michael Rakowitz’s installation at SPACES, during FRONT International.

Angela Oster Orange Removal Machine concept drawingAngela Oster Orange Removal MachineAngela Oster Orange Removal MachineAngela Oster objects for A Color Removed

What’s next?

I’m organizing a pop-up group show at the Osterwitz Gallery located at 15615 Waterloo Road in Cleveland on Sept. 7. I gave 30 artists a “Ting-a-ling Tina” Doll, a tiny doll inside a tiny phone. Each artist can customize the doll, or make a new piece inspired by the doll. It should be a fun show!

Q&A with Waterloo Arts Fest Artist-in-Residence Susie Underwood

fan ax set design by Susie Underwood for Near West Theater's production of Aida
fan ax set design Near West Theater’s 2018 production of Aida

When did you know you were an artist?

I have always loved making things and coming up with creative narratives. When I was a kid, I’d read fantasy or science fiction novels, and then I would create costumes or props inspired by the stories. That being said, I don’t think I was comfortable calling myself an artist until I had completed some installations with my former art collective, Art Club, around my mid-20s. I felt that I was actually doing something unique and from my own perspective for the first time, and that helped me to feel comfortable calling myself an artist.

How did you get your training?

I went to Ohio State University for art and journalism, got my master’s in art museum education from Antioch University Midwest, and gained a lot of my experience from working with studio and family programs at the Columbus Museum of Art. Much of my knowledge is self-taught. School can only get you so far.

What types of work do you create?

Susie Underwood in costume I like to “try on” many different types of art making, and I’m usually most successful when I combine installation with performance and audience participation. So, instead of having an art show, I might set it up like a garage sale. Or I might perform lounge songs while dressed as an alien, while cracking nerdy jokes and harassing the audience with props. For the Waterloo Arts Fest, I created a “living room” under a tent and painting everything white, so that visitors could decorate my little “home.” I prefer to change the atmosphere and environment from the usual visual art experience, which I find to be pretty boring.

What inspires you?

I love finding new artists on Instagram; there are some amazing artists in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Melbourne right now. Drag queens have really elevated their practice into some of the best contemporary art out there, and they have become a big influence on my performance approach. I am also inspired by the City of Cleveland, the weird history, and the kitsch and beauty that is taken for granted. I love music and science fiction; so, that comes out sometimes.

What are your thoughts on with art therapy?

I am interested in the growing field of art therapy but I’m not actively involved in it. I curated an exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art which highlighted the different ways that art can be used therapeutically. I was showcasing the field to the general public, who may not be aware of all that happens or the potential of art therapy.

How did you get involved as an artist-in-residence with Waterloo Arts Fest?

I was recommended as a potential artist-in-residence because I am good at creating interactive, participatory experiences and working with the public. My years as a museum educator made me that way.

Tell us about the project.

I set up a 10’ x 10’ tent with living room furniture inside. Everything was be white, even my clothes, so that visitors could paint and decorate my little home. I also had a chandelier they could help create by adding junk from their purses, and a rag rug that they could help weave. It was inspired by my love for rehabbing and decorating my home. I want people to understand that creativity doesn’t just have to take place in an art studio; it should be infused into every aspect of life. Creativity is vital to our survival, and we need it now more than ever. We need leaders who can create new ideas, not just destroy things they don’t like.

What’s next?

I have a potential mural on the horizon, if I can ever finish the design!

Susie Underwood mural for Porco Lounge, Cleveland
mural for Porco Lounge, Cleveland
Susie Underwood's WEB for the Columbus Museum of Art's Wonder Room
WEB for the Columbus Museum of Art’s Wonder Room
Susie Underwood's banners for Near West Theater's 2018 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
banners for Near West Theater’s 2018 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Susie Underwood

The 16th-annual Waterloo Arts Fest is this weekend

Waterloo Arts Fest logo

(provided courtesy of Waterloo Arts)

The 16th-Annual Waterloo Arts Fest is Saturday, June 30, 2018, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.  in the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District, Cleveland, on Waterloo Rd. between E. 161 St. and Calcutta Ave. and features more than 40 local bands playing a great mix of music, local handmade art vendors, CLE’s best food trucks, and an exciting mix of innovative and interactive art experiences for all ages. At the Waterloo Arts Fest, you can roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and give art a try.

This community event is produced by Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit art center whose mission is to enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically by creating a stimulating arts environment through exhibits, performances, special events, and educational programming for people of all ages. In addition to orchestrating this festival, Waterloo Arts manages an art gallery, public art projects, a community arts center and artist studios.

What’s new this year? 
This year we are excited to introduce an artist residency program to the event. For four to six weeks leading up to the festival, selected artists will create a temporary art installation that will be presented at the festival, and fans can follow along as the artists post progress shots of their work leading up to the big reveal. This year’s artists are Angela Oster and Susie Underwood. Each year, we would like to add residencies until we have as many as 20 artists creating large-scale installations for the event.

For more info and an event program, visit waterlooarts.org/fest.

Cleveland Institute of Art graduate and HGR customer works as industrial designer

Greg Martin recording paper cyanotype

 

(Q&A with Greg Martin, director of design, Kichler Lighting)

Why did you decide to go to school at Cleveland Institute of Art?

I went to a college-prep Catholic high school with not even a generic art class. In spite of this, all I knew is I wanted to go to art school. Despite the best efforts of my teachers, my parents, and the school counselor (whose career testing indicated I was best suited to be a farmer), I convinced my parents enough that they agreed to let me apply at CIA. CIA was the only choice as I knew it was a great school, and it was close to home (meaning I could save money and live at home). I started at CIA intent on going into illustration, but changed course last minute to industrial design.

 What is your best memory of CIA or what did you learn that got you to where you are today?

Best memory of CIA is being able to explore and delve into many different mediums, despite being an industrial design major — glass, sculpture, printmaking, and ceramics. All were amazing experiences. Back then the five-year program allowed for much “play” outside of your major, which had a great impact on me. I learned how to think and to ask “what if.” I also learned that the more you worked the more you got out of it. Richard Fiorelli, who I had the pleasure of having for sophomore design, was the most influential professor by far in my five years at CIA. I didn’t realize it until much later in my career. I just wish I had the foresight to have known it when I was back in school as I would have spent more time with him.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a maker?

Artist

 What do you create and with what types of materials?

Sculpture, furniture, decorative objects (functional and non-functional), ceramics, photographic images

 How long have you been an HGR customer?

Fellow CIA Student Matt Beckwith introduced me to HGR in 2005 or 2006.

 What have found at HGR that you incorporated into your work?

This list could go on for pages, literally. Everything from things I incorporated into sculptures (firehoses, chains, conveyor belts, tooling, robotic parts, electronics), to items used in the creation of art and furniture, but not incorporated into the final piece (cameras, microscopes, misc. lenses, clamps, etc.), to items that help me in preparing to create (mixing bottles, rinse trays, etc.) I also have used HGR for materials in creating for my work (old tools and hardware for creating NERF gun prototypes), as well as for inspiration for my design work in the toy and the lighting fields.

Would you recommend HGR to other artists and makers?

Not only would I recommend it, I would say it’s a must for all creative artists/makers.

What do you do when you are not creating art? Career? Hobbies?

I am an industrial designer/product designer; so, “creating” makes up the bulk of what I do. I have taken field trips with our design team at work to get inspiration from walking the aisles of HGR. I also play guitar and banjo when time allows.

What inspires you?

Just about anything/everything. I try to keep my eyes and mind open to seeing as much as I can and asking “what if.” Creative people and creative solutions inspire me.

Where can we find your work?

My website (in progress) is gmartinstudio.com.

Greg Martin share chair/bench

Waterloo Arts Juried Exhibition opening reception June 1

Waterloo Arts juried exhibition Damp by Katy Richards
“Damp” by Katy Richards

The annual Waterloo Arts Juried Exhibition is presented in partnership with Praxis Fiber Workshop and Brick Ceramic + Studio Design with artwork selected by 2018 Guest Juror Ray Juaire, senior exhibitions manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. The work of 87 artists from the U.S. and Canada will be on display at Waterloo Arts, Praxis Fiber Workshop and Brick Ceramic + Design Studio. Awards are sponsored by Brick Ceramic + Design Studio, CAN Journal, Praxis Fiber Workshop, The Sculpture Garden, Waterloo Arts, and Zygote Press, Inc. Meet the 2018 juror and participating artists on June 1 from 6-9 p.m. during the districtwide opening reception at 15605 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, featuring live music and light refreshments.

The show will run from June 1 to July 21, 2018.

Registration is open for youth summer arts camp on Waterloo Road

Waterloo Arts Round Robin summer arts camp

This summer, local nonprofit Waterloo Arts will be bringing back last year’s Round Robin summer arts camp. Waterloo Arts’ Board President Danielle Uva enrolled her two boys, 10 and 7, at the time in the camp last summer. Her children went to several camps that summer, but Round Robin she says, “was by far their favorite camp.” They found the time spent with professional artists in their own spaces and the galleries and studios around Waterloo where the camp is held to be intimate and, therefore, more engaging. The setup of the camp is such that students learn from professional artists about a new medium each day, such as ceramics or printing, and make a small project in the day’s medium.

Waterloo Arts itself is a community space, and the organization encourages a culture where the students to feel ownership over the space and freedom to experiment. The instruction and setting made the students feel like they were part of something bigger than themselves, and a year later, Uva’s children still talk about what they did at Waterloo. For instance, the students screen printed T-shirts last year, and the boys take great pride in wearing something that they conceived and made. Not only do they still wear the shirts though, they even reflect on what they would change about their design. They felt empowered to make something completely their own, and they self-reflect on the process.

There was one day of the camp last year when the students focused on fiber art and were taught at Praxis how to dye fabric and how to felt. Praxis is a nonprofit organization that functions as a cooperative textile studio, offering classes, studio space, and communal space for all fiber arts processes such as weaving, fabric design, and spinning yarn. Jessica Pinsky, executive director, expects students this year to focus on felting. Pinsky’s goal for the students is to get them thinking about where the fabric comes from and how it is made—how their blanket started out as fiber which was turned into cloth and then eventually a blanket their parents bought at a store. Pinsky hopes that students feel empowered by being able to create something. The process of having an idea and following it through the process of execution to create a tangible item gives people of any age the feeling of ownership.

This year, the two-week long camp will run twice, July 9-20 and July 23-August 3, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and is only $200 for two weeks. It is open to children ages 6-13. This year’s iteration of the camp will be similar to last year’s: students will be taught daily by professional, local artists who specialize in fiber arts, ceramics, printing, street art, graphic design, woodworking, yoga, stained glass, and more. Each day of the camp focuses on one of these specialties, and the students get to know and use the different maker-spaces and galleries on Waterloo. They will visit and/or work with Praxis Fiber Workshop; Brick Ceramic + Design Studio; Agnes Studio; Rust, Dust & Other Four-Letter Words; Tattoo and Graffiti Artist Chris Poke; Azure Stained Glass; Pop Life Yoga Studio; and others.

HGR Industrial Surplus is invested in S.T.E.[A.]M. (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education and engaging young people in activities that encourage them to choose career fields in these areas. To that end, we’ve made a donation earmarked for the art camp to Waterloo Arts. If you don’t have kids in this age bracket to send, you might consider another method of support as an investment in our community and our children.

For more information, to donate or to register for the camp, visit waterlooarts.org.

Retired Cleveland Institute of Art industrial design instructor finds inspiration at Euclid City Council meetings

Richard Fiorelli Cleveland Institute of Art

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Richard Fiorelli, artist and retired instructor)

How did you first become involved with Cleveland Institute of Art?

When I was in fourth grade, I received a scholarship from Euclid’s Upson Elementary School to attend Saturday children’s art classes at Cleveland Institute of Art.

What is your best memory of CIA?

In fourth grade I discovered that the art school had a candy machine and a 10:30 a.m. morning break from the strenuous task of creating children’s art. I was pretty much hooked from that moment on.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a maker?

My Uncle Sam rightfully considers me to be a retired art teacher. I taught design for 32 years at Cleveland Institute of Art.

What types of materials do you use to create your art?

Pen and paper is all that I require to be quite content sketching…for now.

How did you find out about HGR Industrial Surplus?

I tagged along with CIA Students Matt Beckwith and Greg Martin on their spirited explorations throughout the vast interiors of HGR. They hit the ground running, and I followed along.

Why would you recommend HGR to other artists and makers?

To quote Greg Martin, “HGR is a candy store of unexpected materials awaiting a curious mind and creative spirit.”

What do you do when you are not creating art?

I love to read — most recently Tribe by Sebastian Junger, which was brought to my attention by Councilperson Christine McIntosh. Euclid Public Library is an inexhaustible resource.

Where do you create your work?

You can usually find me sketching at Euclid City Council meetings.

What inspires you?

Not what, but who. The Zen master of all things design is undoubtedly Ni Tram. Beyond Ni Tram there are of course Matt Beckwith and Greg Martin. Of special note is Frank Hoffert, a retired Euclid High School teacher, who first introduced me to Euclid City Council meetings 40 years ago. It has proven to be an inexhaustible resource for sketching from life.

Anything else that you would like to share?

Heed the advice of Councilperson Reverend Brian T. Moore regarding the importance of a conversation. You never know where it might lead.

Euclid City Council by Richard Fiorelli
Euclid City Council
portrait sketches by Richard Fiorelli
portrait sketches
Coffee with a Cop Euclid Policeman Edward Bonchak
Coffee with a Cop Euclid Policeman Edward Bonchak
self-portrait by Richard Fiorelli
self-portrait

First-annual student art show held at second-annual Euclid Art Walk

Euclid Art Show first-place winner "Hot Sauce in my Cup of Noodles" by Brady Wilson
Euclid Art Show first-place winner “Hot Sauce in my Cup of Noodles” by Brady Wilson
Euclid Art Association first-place winner "Losing Faith" by Madeline Pflueger
Euclid Art Association first-place winner “Losing Faith” by Madeline Pflueger
Euclid Art Association first-place winner "Self-Portrait" by Chazlyn Johnson
Euclid Art Association first-place winner “Self-Portrait” by Chazlyn Johnson
Euclid Art Association first-place winner "This is How Euclid will Look in 2050" by Zania Jones
Euclid Art Association first-place winner “This is How Euclid will Look in 2050” by Zania Jones
Euclid High School fine art students
Euclid High School fine art students (first-place winner Brady Wilson on the right)
Euclid high school photography students
Euclid High School photography students

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Joan Milligan, Euclid Art Association program director)

How do you start an art movement? By making connections! During a planning meeting in June for the second-annual Euclid Art Walk, the Euclid Art Association brought up the idea that an art walk should have an art show for the students of the city. That was how the All-Student September Art Show was born.

The goal of the student art show was to connect the community to the local schools to promote the arts. Art is an important, but often limited, part of curriculum. Art teaches students be creative and to look for and recognize designs and patterns all around them. By developing this ability, students can be led to careers not only in art, but also in computer science, graphic design, architecture, engineering and more. Because of limitations in school budgets or family resources, many talented students don’t have access to quality art supplies. We realized the art show could serve another purpose – create a forum to display and recognize budding talent and award that talent with access to good supplies for various media.

Once the seed was planted, the show began to grow! A local landlord offered a vacant storefront to use as a gallery. Businesses, including HGR Industrial Surplus, made donations so that good-quality art supplies could be awarded as prizes to the students and classrooms. The prizes presented to the winners included:

  • Large and small tabletop easels
  • Pastel sets
  • Framing certificates to Driftwood Gallery
  • Drawing tablets
  • Canvases
  • Paint sets
  • Paint brushes
  • Crayons
  • Gift certificates to Dodd Camera
  • Photo paper
  • Art books

Additionally, the Cleveland Museum of Art sent its mobile art truck complete with hands-on art projects for children, and even a troupe of stilt walkers!

The Euclid Art Walk was held on Friday, Sept. 22, from 6:00-11:00 p.m. The Student Art Show was held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the donated storefront. We created a mini-gallery-feel in the store with art racks and tables from the Euclid Art Association. Live painting opportunities for both adults and children were available in front of the store.

This inaugural art show had 46 entries from elementary through high-school students ranging. There were enough entries at the high-school level that we were able to designate two judging categories: Photography and Fine Arts.

 

Blacksmith puts a little bit of his soul in every piece he makes

Three Rivers Forge hammer Kipling quote

Vaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Vaughn Terpack, Three Rivers Forge)

Blacksmithing is my sole source of income at the moment. I got tired of working for someone else and having to deal with all the soap opera drama; so, I decided to take a gamble and start smithing full time.

Financially, quitting a “real” job to try my hand at being an artist probably wasn’t the best of ideas. It’s been a thorough bear of a struggle, but then I look at all my customers around the world and marvel at how these people have chosen my work over that of every blacksmith on the Internet. From Singapore to Switzerland, Australia to Israel, there’s a little bit of my soul in every corner of the world.

I honestly don’t know how you put a dollar figure on that, or how you can even quantify what that means. In a hundred years, I’ll be dead and buried, but my legacy will live on in iron.

When I first started, my goal was simply to help bring the blacksmith’s craft back to the forefront of peoples’ minds. I wanted to help get people thinking about quality over quantity. I wanted folks to see what I call the “Art in the Everyday” — opting for beautiful handmade goods in lieu of cheap mass-produced products, even if that means having less “stuff” overall.

It’s hard to convince people to spend $40 on a hand-forged bottle opener when most bottles have twist-off tops and the opener they bought for a dollar at the corner store works just as well as anything I can make. But, I honestly believe that by sacrificing on the quality, surrounding ourselves with chintzy, we impact our psyches in a negative way.

My hope is to make products that the average person can own and look at every single day. When you hang your coat on a hand-forged wall hook or pop the top on a cold one with a hand-forged bottle opener, you’re in touch with something that’s rare these days. You get to experience that “art in the everyday.”

(Vaughn’s work can be found in his store, Three Rivers Forge on etsy.com.)

Vaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge dragon toothVaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge forged itemsVaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge candlestick

An HGR customer makes art by painting metal

Bob McNulty paintings

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Joe Powell, HGR’s graphic designer)

On the corner of Detroit Ave. and Marlowe Ave., in historic Lakewood, Ohio, sits a unique furniture shop called Empty Nest. The owner is a long-time customer of HGR Industrial Surplus and an emerging artist. Bob McNulty studied sculpture with Gene Kangas and photography with Misumi Hayashi at Cleveland State University before traveling the world as a sailmaker and boat captain. After being in the boat industry for 25 years, he left the field in 2008 to pursue other ventures, including opening a furniture store. It was in that line of work when he was introduced to industrial furniture. Being intrigued by it, he started to network within the community. Then in 2010, he decided to pursue art full time and brand his own style of industrial chic.

McNulty was fascinated by the distressed look of the industrial movement and wanted to push it further. By applying 5 to 12 coats of paint and using various techniques to remove the layers, the colors beneath began to show Bob a picture. He started to mix geometric shapes and free-flowing designs to create paintings that are as fascinating to touch as they are to look at. You can feel the textures of the layers and see the dimensions. Pictures do not justify their beauty. Bob McNulty, the artist, was born.

I looked around at the different pieces in his art opening on April 29, 2017. Some reminded me of topographical maps of rural towns, while others had a molecular feel to them. The majority of the pieces were made from items bought at HGR, where Bob says, “It was like a candy store” the first time he walked in. He now makes art full time, which keeps him busy. Each painting takes two to three weeks from start to finish, which allows time for application of all the layers. You can see his work at Empty Nest, 14423 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, Ohio.

Bob McNulty