Fabrication was no vacation
|By Mary C. Cusack|
Fussy neighbors, scorched tables: Welcome to Scrapfest
Some random bit of wisdom says to “do something every day that scares you.” For two weeks, I did that consistently as a member of a team competing in Old Town Scrapfest 2010. The event, a fund-raiser for the Old Town Commercial Association, is in its second year. Such Video owner David Such, who launched the project, found an apt sponsor in Friedland Industries, a metal salvage company located in Old Town.
The competition begins with teams scrounging around Friedland scrap yard for one hour to gather up to 500 pounds of scrap. They then have just under two weeks to fabricate sculptures, which are displayed and auctioned off at Old Town’s Festival of the Moon/Festival of the Sun.
For some reason this sounded like a great challenge for me in April, when OTCA put out its call for entrants. Being primarily a photographer, I conned fellow Lansing-area artists Jack Bergeron and George Hirai into being the backbone of the team. After a stream of e-mails, a buffet lunch and one happy-hour conversation, The Fortnight Fabricators were born.
One way to prepare for the competition is to have a design idea and select scrap based your pre-conceived notions. Alternately, a team could decide to let the material speak to them and look for inspiration on the fly while sorting through the scrap. We did the former.
The selection process was a blast. Like a sedate version of “Iron Chef,” contestants pick through piles of categorized scrap, schlepping their booty back to their individual cribs while their minds race with ideas. The Friedland management and staff were enthusiastic and helpful, and it was obvious this is a labor of love for them. When time was up, humongous machines rolled in to quickly scoop the leftovers back into a big pile, while forklifts whisked our cribs off to be weighed.
Our team had met several times before the kickoff day on June 12, to work out thumbnails of our design. We wanted a kinetic piece, and in keeping with the theme of the festivals, we decided to suspend an integrated sun/moon orb over a landscape of flora and fauna.
Hirai was our bugmaster. He had worked in small-scale kinetic sculptures before and was excited to design insects loosely based on those found in nature. After dropping over $500 on a tabletop welder and other assorted tools, he set to work creating intricate, elegant bees, praying mantises, spiders and beetles.
Bergeron had worked in
My role, I
Back in the garage, the next eight days were spent cutting with power tools and mechanically attaching pieces to our frame.
As the crowds mingled among the works on Friday and Saturday, the comments were positive for thecfield of work. People were impressed by the skill and charmed by the designs. While
Arrange for a good working space, and outfit it with every tool you never think you’ll need.
And finally, pick a team of creative people who have diverse skill sets and thick skin.