The Artisan.

March 15, 2006

For the past two weeks I’ve watched this kid get on the bus that I take home. He gets on just after I do, about two stops later. He must be taking a tin bashing course at the college down the road because every day he’s got a different piece of work under his arm. Over the past few weeks I’ve watched his projects grow in complexity ā€“ from simple, square open-topped boxes to rounded containers with perfect spot welds and handled lids. The pieces are utilitarian ā€“ a roof exhaust flange perhaps, or one of those twirly things that you see on the roofs of houses. There is a certain beauty to these works; a certain galvanized charm, a dose of shining simplicity.

Yesterday he got on with a 36” by 3” tube that had a nice wooden handle. That surprised me because I hadn’t seen one of those tubes in years. It’s a vessel for carrying blueprint drawings; a device that has fallen out of use in recent years with the advent of electronic plan rooms. It was nice to see a young person give a nod to the past.

Today, the kid walked on with a star-shaped piece of work. Imperfect at the edges and sloppily spot welded, the star was something different for this kid. It wasn’t a practical piece of equipment. It could serve no purpose other than ornamental. It was a simple piece of art made of tin and put together with his hands. I admired his work all the way to the station, and I gave the kid credit for making something of such whimsical yet lasting value.

As I watched him collect his day’s work and exit the bus, I wondered who would receive his gift. His girlfriend? His mother? Perhaps he would keep it for himself. Perhaps it would serve as a reminder.

Vignette #45

3 reader comments (closed)

1

Tom

Serve as a reminder for what Mike?

I gotta start riding the bus. Iā€™m missing a whole lotta good shit. Feeling Better?

Mar 15, 2006 • 23:19

2

gravel

Much, thank-you.

This may sound flaky, but perhaps it would remind him that there is beauty everywhere – even in that which we do every day and in that which we take for granted. A tin basher may not consider what he crafts to be “art”, but it is in a way; it is a creation. I think that there is beauty in industrial items like switchboards or HVAC ducts.

Then again, maybe I’m a little cracked.

Mar 15, 2006 • 23:59

3

Tom

Cracked your not Mike.
You just see the beauty in things others take for granted.

The wooden tool box we made in grade 9 shop. The pot roast Mom made every Sunday. 40 pages of numbers, quantities and types that you turn into something that you can say, ‘Yea, this is mine, I created it and it’s a fucking beauty.

Isn’t it a nice feeling to “create” something ?

Mar 19, 2006 • 23:41

StreetRag, An Urban Notebook

StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook

 • 


About

StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

Read the complete story

Recent Vignettes

Podcast Episodes

The City

The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?

More about Edmonton