--!> Artists + Collaborators | Fe29 :: The Art Lab
Croix Williamson joins Fe29

512.921.7212 :: thelab@fe29.com

Croix & Cecilia making plans.
Croix & Cecilia
A 5 Square Knot.
Artwork - 5 Square Knot sm
Ball Spiral made out of 1" thick steel.
Ball Spiral
A larger 5 Square Knot.
Artwork - 5 Square Knot lg
Croix working on our new gate.
Croix in workshop

Croix Williamson joins Fe29

Croix Williamson is a very talented young fellow that has been pursuing his love of art for many years. His experience as a blacksmith/metalworker has given his creative side a natural place to flow. And, flow it does! Check out the images of his latest “5 Square Knots”. He says he has never been good at math, but I’m not sure I believe him, as he uses math to work out the complicated schematics for each of these before he picks up his torch and commences cutting.  Then comes the bending, and assembling, and…  Voila! A 5-Square Knot results.  And, that’s not all he’s good at. Check out all of his other works on our site and stay tuned, as he’s just getting revved up.

Here's the result of Chris' biggest Fe29 challenge yet.
On Track
Chris' 1st collaboration - stamping her poem into another artist's copper work.
Chris' Scottish sextilla stamped in a spiral pattern on the base of "Transcendence".

Featured Artist: Chris Cander

Chris Cander is an exceptionally talented young woman that we are lucky to have amongst our ranks. She is a writer of childrens’ books, a novelist, poet, martial artist and now a REAL artist! Chris is adept with words and has a vocabulary that is awe-inspiring. In collaboration with some of our metal artists, furniture makers, welders, etc. she has added words that permanently instill deeper meaning to their works. Chris is very creative with the shaping, size and meaning of these words that she so thoughtfully melds with the works of other artists.

And smart as a whip she is… We thought we would be able to trip her up when calling with a request for a poem to be welded onto the top of the section of rail road iron which embodies the work we lovingly call, “On Track”. ” We need a poem that is 54″ long, 1.5″ high and about inner strength.”  It took her all of a few hours to come back with the perfect answer!

I have taken an excerpt out of Chris’ blog on her Chris Cander Author site to include here: “I was honored that Fe29 asked me to co-create something with one of their artists. The piece I began with is a long sheet of copper, oxidized an oceanic green and then texturized to resemble the magnified surface of a canvas. It had three gentle swells, which look like waves. Taking the artist’s life journey into consideration I wrote a poem that I hoped would reflect her story and enhance in some small way her piece of art”.

The Journey” is twelve lines long, and can be read either starting at the first line or in reverse, starting at the last, with the meaning slightly altered depending on the direction. To incorporate it into the piece, I stamped the lines using letter stamps and a hammer, alternating the direction of each line to encourage viewers to begin reading at either end. I was quite moved by the process of physically transcribing my verse onto the piece. It was the first time I had ever collaborated with another artist in such a way. I hope it won’t be the last.”


To get where I thought I most wanted to be

Away from all the incongruities and absurdities

I pressed myself

To you

I lashed and thrummed my way

Pulsing through torpor and even, sometimes, joy

I lolled and swam and slipped


Crossing that predatory ocean of loss

Between What-was and What-might-have-been

And, despite spending so much time thusly

I ended up exactly where I am

We are so glad and so lucky to have Chris on board. Stay tuned for more works with her words…

Manuel prepares the stumps to hold the iron
Building On Track
The hammering station.
Hammering Station
Oops! Jim forgot the comma after gloaming.
We just unloaded the iron with the hoists & lowered onto the stumps. Note the reverse positioning of the stumps.
The finished product in our Satellite Gallery.
On Track in Gallery
On Track Close Up

Fe29 artists are “On Track” with collaborating

One day a couple of years ago, Cecilia, our friend Kay McFall and I were in a field near Lockhart when I stumbled upon a 4+ foot section of rail road track buried in the tall grass. Cecilia thought the rail would make a good hammering station in the workshop. Two of us have bad backs and we’re all getting up there in age, but we were determined to lift this find up into our trunk (or “boot” as the Kiwi calls it!). So, after much adieu, we succeeded and carted the heavy load home with the front wheels of the car barely touching the road. Our friend, Jan Wesson, donated some lovely curved Oak stumps from her property in Dripping Springs to the cause. We had Manuel Perez chainsaw sections out of the tops of each stump to hold the rail securely in place for hammering.

Well, then it came time to start filling up our new Satellite Gallery in preparation for our first exhibition First Light. One more sculpture was needed to round out the exhibition, and the hammering station seemed like the start of a perfect work. The idea of including a poem along the top of the rail seemed a good idea and so after measuring up the piece, we emailed writer Chris Cander. Providing an image of the piece we made a most unusual request “Could you please write us a poem about inner strength to include on this work. It needs to be 54″ long and 1.5″ tall. In next to no time we received the perfect verse. “I stand quiet as the close of gloaming, bold as the unfurling dawn”.

There was an artist Cecilia had been trying to bring into Fe29 and suggested this poem could be just the piece for him to cut his teeth on. The iron was delivered to the workshop of welder Jim Miller. “I can’t do that!” he exclaimed! “If I make one mistake it will ruin the work!” “You won’t make a mistake Cecilia replied. We’ve seen your welding and we know you can do it!” Jim’s made a face and mumbled ‘leave it with me and I’ll see what I can do”.

In the meantime we returned to the shop where I tidied up the stumps with a chainsaw, and waxed them. As I was admiring my handiwork, furniture designer Mark Love walked in to talk about another piece. “They need to be reversed” he said immediately. “Of course” we replied, recognizing our oversight in still thinking of the piece as a long hammering station rather than a sculpture.

We returned to Jim’s workshop and picked up the railroad iron which now had the poem beautifully welded on the top. “Fabulous!” we exclaimed “but you forgot one comma”. I pointed to where it should go. “Of course” responded Jim in a flash “there’s always a comma after gloaming!” Back at the shop we unloaded the piece onto the newly waxed stumps! Perfect! All we needed was a name – ‘On Track’.

Not only was this a wonderful example of a collaboration by a group of 6 artists from different backgrounds having fun, it was completed in less than 2 days and is appreciated by many that visit our gallery.

The piece of copper provided to Mark "to have fun with".
Starting Copper
Mark is tentative about getting started..
Getting Started
Mark is catching on. Can you tell?
Catching on
Discussions as well as trial & error help in the finishing touches.
Final Decisions
Here it is - "Peace Like a River".
Mark - Peace Like a River
This fellow is no average, run of the mill furniture-maker, now is he?!
Close Up

Featured artist Mark Love

Writer Chris Cander  introduced us to Mark several months ago, and we got the opportunity to see some of his beautiful work. We couldn’t believe our luck. Such a talented fellow only 2 minutes away. Could he possibly be interested in a collaboration? The answer was a somewhat tentative “yes”. “Wonderful!” came Cecilia’s reply. “I have just the piece for you to get started on”.

She produced a piece of copper that had been treated with heat and chemicals and then painted in oils. Feeling it was not saying what she wanted, the artist had taken a hammer to it to give it some texture, but she was still not satisfied with it. Mark was the answer to her prayers. After explaining a little about what was behind the piece, we drove it down the road to Mark’s workshop for him to ponder over for a while. Our instructions “Just have fun with it’.

Prior to being given this challenge, Mark had not been involved in creating artworks (other than in the form of furniture of course), and so he was naturally somewhat tentative when it came to developing ideas of his own to incorporate into other artists’ work. “What if I mess it up?” “Not possible!” came the reply. A few more words of encouragement and a little discussion found  Mark  offering his own much more interesting plans for the work.

Still not keen to go too far without approval on his first piece, there were a number of visits between Fe29 and Rainbow Ranch to review after each step and plan for the next. There was little that e29 needed to offer. The result, absolutely stunning! Mark’s work was impeccable and his feeling for the piece perfect! Without pause, we asked “so are are you ready for the next one”.

We should say at this point that Mark has not looked back. His next piece was completed without the need for any assurances. He knew what he was doing was right. This was definitely a match made in Heaven! Mark was a preacher in his past life (pre-furniture), you know.

Mark is busy working on finishing a couple of new pieces for the Fe29 upcoming exhibition. So, watch this space for details…

Mark Love has his own well-established furniture making business (Mark Love Furniture) which is located on his property about 2 minutes from the Fe29 Art Lab in Wimberley.

"Bound to the Rail" - Imagine the skill & patience this took!
Bound to the Rail
"Bridge of Zeal" - No explanation necessary.
After the Bridge Exhibition Lawrie moved onto some new and larger artworks.
Lawrie Drawing
Lawrie with Torch

Lawrie Forbes – Zeal Steel of Dunedin, NZ gets going with his art…

Lawrie Forbes has always had an interest and been a patron of the Arts. However, never tried his hand at creating art, until he crossed paths with Cecilia Jane Orr. An accident involving a train and footbridge brought these two together. A train passing under a historic and heavily traveled footbridge took out the bridge when the ties holding the canvas cover came loose, wrapped themselves around the bridge and proceeded to pull the structure down as the train passed. Zeal Steel was charged with re-building the footbridge.

Cecilia, upon meeting Lawrie and learning of his love of Art, asked him if he would consider collaborating with her. At first, he turned her down, but later, after visiting her gallery which was located very near the footbridge, he changed his mind. The two discussed Lawrie’s idea for his first sculpture which was inspired by the bridge project. Lawrie asked if Cecilia would put his first work in her gallery and her answer was definitively “No, but if you will make three sculptures, and help me fit out the gallery, we can do an entire exhibition on the Footbridge.” And that they did.

Lawrie had collected lots of railroad memorabilia which was strategically placed throughout the gallery and then Cecilia asked if he would get his crew to build a bridge down the center of the gallery. Craig, Lawrie’s business partner had taken scads of photos and videos throughout the bridge project, which were an asset to the exhibition. Cecilia met a French photographer who was vacationing in Dunedin and got her to capture the essence of the people traveling across the new bridge with six very well done photographs. The exhibition entitled, “The Footbridge: from Collapse to Return” was a great success and Lawrie was catapulted into the art world with the creation of these three very strong and moving sculptures pictured above. Lawrie has plans to visit Fe29 here in Wimberley sometime later this year. So, stay tuned, as there’s no telling what these two may get up to while he’s around!