It’s a Heat

 

 

It started with admiring outdoor art. Actually, it probably started in 1983 when I first saw “Flashdance,” but that’s digging too deep. Anyhoo, I wanted some outdoor art. Indoor art abounds at the new pad, but the outside is a little lonely. I looked to a painting and found inspiration…

 

 

So I signed up for a sculpture class at a welding shop. I had built myself a maquette made of cardboard and thought it might be possible to finish the piece during the 6-week class. I hoped so at least.

 

 

I got to work and, well, then the US election happened. It was all I could do to make myself go to class. When I got there, the other students were quiet. Maybe we were all heartbroken. I don’t know. Each of us worked on our own projects…

 

 

And we plugged away…

 

 

Once I had cut the pieces for my planned sculpture, I needed to grind them down to remove the ugly coating on the metal. Did I have to? No. I could have simply left the pieces alone and allowed them to rust once outdoors. But I had different plans. And so the grinding work began. Grinding, to me, is a bit tense. As a safety precaution, one has to constantly apply pressure to the on button of a grinder, which wears out whichever hand one uses. And then there’s the body position. I found that holding myself at a slight bent-over angle for so long led to back pain. Not cool, man. And then, as if my body’s tension wasn’t enough, one night I noticed an odd scent in the grinding room. I looked down and saw my hoodie had flamed up from the sparks being thrown by the grinder. I immediately patted out the flare-up, then looked around to see if anyone had noticed. None had, so I went back to finishing the job. Or as much as I could.

 

 

By the end of the session, I had the structure of my piece down…

 

 

But I wasn’t finished. And I knew it. I brought the metal home, hid it away and started my research into metal dyes. That’s right. I wanted my piece to have color. (I figured it would rust, too, but the color would only add to that natural process. Right?) Thanks to the YouTuber, I was able to find a product that looked like it would do the trick. I ordered what I needed and waited. Once the dyes arrived, I knew I had to finish grinding the metal. It occurred to me that I could return to the welding shop and pay them for some open shop time, but when I saw how cheaply a grinder could be had, I decided to just get the tool and finish the task at home. For the record, when the grinder arrived, I considered making its case my new handbag. Yes – I like it that much…

 

 

So. Even though I wasn’t using a 30,000 degree F plasma cutter, I knew enough about grinder sparks to be careful. So I cleaned the outdoor area of leaves and such and got out a fire extinguisher before setting up my work station. I wore all the requisite protective clothing and earplugs and a face mask. I certainly didn’t want to burn down the house, and I surely didn’t want to burn down a Mikki.

 

 

Finishing the job took the better part of a day. But then I was ready to apply the dye. I let it set and then Mister helped me assemble the piece.

 

 

I have to tell you – this was fun. Yes, there were setbacks and disappointments. Yes, I nearly gave myself a belly scar from a spark fire. Yes, it took longer than I expected or hoped. But in the end, I’m fairly smitten with this sculpture. It’s my first. You never forget your first…