Blacksmith Shop and a Decorative Knot

Decorative Knot, made by a blacksmith at Frisco Heritage Museum, Frisco, Texas

Decorative Knot, made by a blacksmith at Frisco Heritage Museum, Frisco, Texas

Last Sunday I made the long drive up north to Frisco. A friend of mine had told me about an open house at the Frisco Heritage Museum and Village. All the historical buildings would be open to the public. It sounded like a bit of fun, so I was there.

As I walked out of the Railroad Station I heard a series of loud metallic clangs. I turned toward the sound and there was a shower of orange sparks from a healthy flame sprouting up in the darkness of a metal shed. I recognized these as the telltale signs of a Blacksmith at work.

I walked down there and settled in, talking to the smithy at work. He was forging square nails by heating and pounding iron rods. He took special pride in his work, talking about how he had placed in some recent blacksmithing contests. Someone asked him about taking lessons and he said that Brookhaven college has a number of blacksmithing courses. After a couple of nails, he said he was done, and went over to sit down. A younger man came into the shop and began to set up his work.

“That’s one guy that learned at Brookhaven,” the original smithy said.

I walked out to see the rest of the buildings on display – the church was especially cool. Then I returned to see what the new guy was doing.

“I’m making decorative knots,” he said. He was heating rods, then bending them into a series of small loops. Finally he’d cut the knot off… and start on another. It was mostly practice in heating, forging, and bending metal – but it was pretty interesting.

He cooled one knot off in a wooden bucket of water and handed it to me. “Here’s a souvenir,” he said.

For some reason, I really like the thing.

Blacksmith fire from coal and coke. You can see a knot heating in the lower left.

Blacksmith fire from coal and coke. You can see a knot heating in the lower left.

Hammering a heated knot.

Hammering a heated knot.

Hammering a heated knot.

Hammering a heated knot.

The blacksmiths sitting around, talking shop.

The blacksmiths sitting around, talking shop.

Coal and coke fire, Frisco, Texas.

Coal and coke fire, Frisco, Texas. They explained how if you put too many of those irons in there, you would lose the one you needed to work on – thus – “too many irons in the fire.”

Decorative Knot, made by a blacksmith at Frisco Heritage Museum, Frisco, Texas

Decorative Knot, made by a blacksmith at Frisco Heritage Museum, Frisco, Texas

Blur

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

—-Mahatma Gandhi

Superdrome, Frisco, Texas

Superdrome, Frisco, Texas

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. At least there is the fact that once you increase its speed past a certain point, all is a blur. There is a comforting mystery in a blur. Like a hummingbird’s wing – you can forget the delicacy and fragility… seduced and confused by the motion.

An object in motion tends to move out of the frame. Unless you manage to move the frame. Maybe the world deserves to be smeared across the concrete. It is softened but also obscured. Detail disappear; unseen patterns emerge. Is the truth better seen unfocused?

But who wants a clouded truth?

Dead End

Frisco, Texas

“Quite possibly there’s nothing as fine as a big freight train starting across country in early summer, Hardesty thought. That’s when you learn that the tragedy of plants is that they have roots.”
― Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

“Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

“The train bore me away, through the monstrous scenery of slag-heaps, chimneys, piled scrap-iron, foul canals, paths of cindery mud criss-crossed by the prints of clogs. This was March, but the weather had been horribly cold and everywhere there were mounds of blackened snow. As we moved slowly through the outskirts of the town we passed row after row of little grey slum houses running at right angles to the embankment. At the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stones, poking a stick up the leaden waste-pipe which ran from the sink inside and which I suppose was blocked. I had time to see everything about her—her sacking apron, her clumsy clogs, her arms reddened by the cold. She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second in which I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever-seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us,’ and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. She knew well enough what was happening to her—understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there in the bitter cold, on the slimy stones of a slum backyard, poking a stick up a foul drain-pipe.”
― George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher

“The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.”

― Carlos Castaneda

“The stars are reflected from within the black water in the cistern. I find comfort in the omen I glean from this: light in the darkness, truth when it seems there is none.”

― Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers

David McCullough, Dallas
Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher
2000, Acrylic, F6 Cement, Foam, Wire
Frisco, Texas

David McCullough, Dallas Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher

David McCullough, Dallas
Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher

David McCullough, Dallas Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher

David McCullough, Dallas
Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher

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The Wiz

“I understood that fate could not be eluded forever; it came on leathery wings, swooping through the darkness like the bats in the orchards.”

― Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers

Zeke: It’s a twister! It’s a twister!

The Wizard of Oz

Art Shirer, Dallas
The Wiz, 2001, Steel, Paint
Frisco, Texas

Art Shirer, Dallas The Wiz

Art Shirer, Dallas
The Wiz

Art Shirer, Dallas The Wiz

Art Shirer, Dallas
The Wiz

La Mujer Roja

“Even as a small child, I understood that woman had secrets, and that some of these were only to be told to daughters. In this way we were bound together for eternity.”
― Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers

Michelle O’Michael, Houston
La Mujer Roja
2000, Steel, paint
Frisco, Texas

Michelle O’Michael, Houston La Mujer Roja (click to enlarge)

Michelle O’Michael, Houston
La Mujer Roja
(click to enlarge)

Michelle O’Michael, Houston La Mujer Roja (click to enlarge)

Michelle O’Michael, Houston
La Mujer Roja
(click to enlarge)