Make or Buy?

Often times during my work life, I had debates with people about whether a particular item should be made by the team, or bought from a supplier.

In art, there is a similar topic: does an art buyer want to purchase something already made, or want to have something made specifically for them.

As an artist, and as a craftsman, I love the opportunity to create something original, to meet a client’s specific needs. But we often have to make things that we feel strongly about, and put them out in front of the public. Which leaves the decision in the minds of the public’s eye.

We all hear stories of artists whose art fetches millions (usually dead artists). Those are clearly situations where the buyer is not commissioning something to be created.

Is it easier for people to say “like/don’t like” than “I want something like this…”?

What do you think?

Design = Your Tools?

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a demo/workshop with the noted artist-blacksmith Tim Cisneros. Regarding design, one of his points was that your designs reflect the tools that you have: if you have certain tools that shape metal a certain way, then your designs are likely to have those shapes. So, I began to wonder: is this true of other media?

Or is this concept a way to justify spending more time making more tools and tooling?

In Plain Sight – Show At the Maturango Museum

flyer in plain sightDuring December 2013 through January 2014, I was honored to have been selected for a solo show of my shadow scuplture at the Maturango Museum. This show was highly successful, with lots of visitors and lots of feedback. The title of the show came from the idea of “hidden in plain sight” — in this case, the shadow sculpture was right there in front of you, casting the shadow of something else.

A catalog from the show is still available, and a video interview has been posted at

For more information about my Shadow Sculptures, go to the link at the top of the page. And, I should mention that I have a number of new pieces in the planning stages – stay tuned!

Designing – Why Is It Hard to Settle on a “Design?”

Blog Post 6/15

This evening I was again trying to design a new steel piece.  I know what it’s functional needs are, the hard part is trying to sort through alternatives and come up with something that I (and Jerry) like.

It’s a game of “what-if.”  I try something, then I seem to think “maybe I could do this a bit better,” or “what if I did this instead.”  I end up looking at a zillion thoughts sometimes – it gets frustrating.  Or aggravating – why doesn’t something good just pop out, right at first?

Maybe someday it’ll become straightforward – I guess I can always hope.

First Post

Well, here’s a test.  This world of blogging is totally new to me, so I’ll give it a try.  I think that I want to focus this blog on blacksmithing (Roadrunner Forge), art, design/good design, ideas, and what’s new around the shop.  There are a lot of other topics that I could cover, but the above list is a pretty large list already.  As I learn more about this, I’ll try to revise things to be more logical and also more interesting.

Meanwhile:  braaaaackss to you spammers.  From the time that my web designer (Petra Web Designs) created this sample until now, I’ve been hit by spammers already.   Fawwgh.

Chimney Pet

chimney petThe clients for this work had a beautiful outdoor fireplace, and wanted a decorative top for it. From our mutual collaboration, this piece resulted. It features images of the local mountains, local flora and fauna, a shaman, and forged lizards, jimson weeds, and desert tortoise.

Chimney Pet Animals

Chimney petThere art four forged animals on the Chimney Pet: lizard (2), tortoise, and sidewinder. These are all common in our area. The lizard was modeled after the Desert Whiptail lizard. The tortoise was modeled after a small tortoise that hangs out near my studio in the summer. We don’t see sidewinder rattlesnakes very often, but they provided the model for this one.