Works in Progress by Joseph Najera

It has been a while since I have entered a new post, but that does not mean that I haven’t been busy.  I have mentioned on previous occasions that I am a member of a co-op art gallery in downtown Los Altos, California.

gallery9There are about thirty members and we rotate, take turns being the featured artist of the month. It takes about two years to have this opportunity.

My opportunity to be the featured artist is coming up real fast this August, 2017. If you are in the Bay Area during August, I invite you to drop in and see what I have been doing.

I have been preparing for this showing for the last two years. Usually I have been a three-dimensional artist. When I my last show I only had three pieces for the wall. Since then, I completed a lot of projects for the walls. That has been my emphasis.  I have been working six days a week, for as long as my energy can stand it.

Here are a few photos of what I’ve been up to. Let’s take a look. I have discovered Fairy Lights. They consist of extremely small lightbulbs strung out on very thin wires. I like the way they look, especially hanging down the wall.

aaaaaaaaaaI usually use a clipboard and graph paper to plan a project. I love curves. I have spent many hours experimenting with my compass. You will notice that my final project doesn’t always turn out the way I planned. That’s what makes it art.

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Curves are simple but the possibilities are infinite in number.

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Through the years I have become more comfortable using a torch. I wanted to show you how I put things together. This is how the design turned out.

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You cannot tell, but the circle I used below came from a wine barrel that I used as a planter in my backyard. The wood rotted away but I found a use for the hoops. Again I used Fairy Lights.

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Below is another project I made using a wine barrel hoop and some Fairy Lights. I think the lighting was better when I took this picture.

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I am using a smooth, fine grain sheet of plywood. I am able to plan a design here. I made the circle with a nail and a string and using what I learned in high school geometry class I was able to draw the diameter and radius.

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At this point I had no idea what the end of the project would look like.

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Working on the pieces continues. It took a while but I finally made all the pieces for the design.

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I used rivets to connect the pieces. It is often so much easier to weld the pieces together, but I like the look of rivets. It ties me to an older date in time.

This project took over eight weeks. The rains came. We had a good rainfall this season. I used a picnic table to lay out the design. Everything became rusty.

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It took a week to clean the pieces up and remove the rust. We were getting a lot of rainfall as I said, so I moved my board to my garage.  I centered the wine barrel hoop and began assembling my pieces.

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Here is the beginning of another design. I drew it out on this rough sheet of plywood. Once again I am using simple curves along with the Iron Rose design. My father created the Iron Rose and I like using it. You will not see this design anywhere else.

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It was late afternoon when I took this picture. I covered it with a tarp to protect it from the rain. All the pieces are made, so now begins the careful assembly of each piece.

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Here you can see my clipboard with the design on it, and the actual design. If you notice the end product is still different from what is on the table. I didn’t like those pieces in the center so I removed them.

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My wife says this reminds her of a spider. I’ll leave whether you agree with that or not, up to you.

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I do not always work with wrought iron. Around Christmas season I like to make Table Deer. They are easy to make and you are welcome to try making one on your own.

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That is my hand on the left. The one on the right took several months to carve out. Maybe some other time I will carve a foot.

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I picked up a tree branch outside, cleaned it up a bit, and made a candleholder out of it.

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Once again you’re welcome to make one of these at home, or, drop by Gallery 9.

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I am not a hunter. One of my cousins loved to hunt. He passed away a few years ago but I received a box of antlers from him. The candleholder and the handle for that knife from the same set of antlers. I have more antlers. I need to take time and think about what I can do with them.

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Every once in a while, when I work in the backyard, I trim the trees and save the straight branches. If they feel strong enough I turn them into walking sticks. Near my house is Cunningham Park. There is a lake there, waterslide, a skateboard park, picnic tables, and lots of Canadian geese. I go there and fill a bag of their feathers. They are all over the place, I just picked them up.

This design is not what I intended. It is similar to one made a few years ago. I started out thinking it would a bouquet of iron roses. Everyone who sees it, says looks like a tree. Okay. I will go with that and call the Tree of Life.

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I like this simple design. It holds an ornament or anything else you want to display. I try to make several for the Christmas season.

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I like this  design for a candleholder. I also like working with leather and beads. I tied an acorn at the end of this string.

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This one of my latest projects. My father’s family is from New Mexico and I was thinking about that when I made this. It is based on the state flag of New Mexico.

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It is not a rule, but traditionally wrought iron projects are painted black or white. I painted it red to match the official flag. By strange coincidence I have a yellow wall that again matches the state flag of New Mexico. The circle is hand made. If you look close you can tell. You didn’t know that until just now.

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This is a project my father made. I cannot remember exactly when, but it must’ve been over 50 years ago. This was a hanger. It held up a sign. I think I still have that sign. Now I’m going to have to clean out the garage until I find it.

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I use my father’s project to make this thing. It is not an exact copy but close enough for you to see similarities. I do not like it and I may change it. The center of this design does not match. Look at the string and draw and imaginary line straight down the middle. What I would like to do with it now is separate it, divide it into two halves. If I hang them on the wall with some space in between my imperfection should be less noticeable.

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It is nearing the end of June. I must be ready with everything by the last week of July. This candleholder follows the basic pattern that I like and have been using for a while.

I welded it together. Although I am becoming more comfortable welding, it is still not a work of art. In other words, I wrapped the main stem in leather. This way I have hidden most of my ugly welds.

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I mentioned earlier the term rivets. Here’s one close-up. To fasten two or more pieces of iron together, it is actually steel, I need to drill a hole through the pieces.

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As I am getting closer to the month of August I am finishing up other pieces that I have been working on.

Once again, I would like to invite you to Gallery 9 this coming August. Come by. Say hello. Thank you very much.

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About jedwardnajera

I am a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I am an artist, a member of Gallery 9 in Los Altos, California. I published a novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, available through Amazon Books. I spent over thirty five years in a classroom. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He was a mechanical engineer and had a wonderful love of history and science. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. He wrote in Spanish and I have spent six months translating these pages into English. Now I am in the process of editing, rewriting, and revising them. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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