Friday, August 21, 2009

Week one finito...

Thus ends my first week as an apprentice to Chris Gavin, owner of Mandala Creations. My sojourn in the world of full-time Blacksmithing has not been without its travails: heat, long days, feelings of inadequacy. Today, however, went well. I spent a fair amount of time with the 88 Powerhammer, and I think I discovered the machine's internal rhythm, or heartbeat if you will. The 88 has a scrappy, almost cocky attitude to it's cadence, and I think its bark is a little worse than its bite. As such, I'm finding I can do surprisingly fine tapering and drawing out with the 88. Chris and I also spent a while punching and drifting some pieces for the sconces. Punching and drifting is something I've been wanting to master ever since I got in to Blacksmithing, and Chris showed me some key methods that I will certainly employ.

Compounding my joy, Chris, Rowena, and Rowena's nephew, Brandon, went swimming in the Clipper Park pool after work. This week has been, without a doubt, the hottest and, in regards to heat, the most physically uncomfortable of my life. As such, the pool, modelled after a Roman bath, felt magnificent and decadent, especially with the addition of cool beer in plastic cups, and a mid-August thunderstorm, complete with heavy rain and lightning. I love the gestation of East-coast thunderstorms: stifling humidity gives way to summoning winds gives way to utter release of rain, lightning, and thunder. Whilst hanging in the poolside hot tub, I met a woman who owns a custom bridal gown shop in Hampden, and we talked shop for a while by the light of oddly Romanesque pyres. She reminded me of why small businesses rock, and why I absolutely love what I do. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It's a big, hard, and punishing world out there. We small business people have to earn our keep. The upside is we GET to earn our keep.

In case I haven't said it already, I love Baltimore. It's truly an amazing city. It exudes a strange humility and approachability that I find endearing, and its attention to the artistic community leaves me impressed. The Maryland Institute College of Art is one of the finest institutes of its kind in the country. And Baltimore's labyrinthine hallows, care-worn brick buildings, and cheap real-estate (at least, compared to Santa Barbara) allow for ample artistic endeavor. If you haven't been to Baltimore, I recommend you take the time...

Requisite Andy shot. I need to cut my hair.

Here's a few shots of the Clipper Mill Area, a revitalized and renovated turn-of-the-century industrial area. I guess Baltimore had the largest flour milling industry in the world during the early 1900s. I'm not sure that Clipper Mill milled flour, but hey, you gotta wonder...

This is a shot of all the friendly pool-folk frolicking during the thunderstorm. Pretty surreal.

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