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.