Asra Jawaid wrote a amazing blog post on the American Welding Society's webpage titled A Tribute to the Transformative Experience of Welding. It features my sculpture "One Piece at a Time" and stories about my experiences at CCAC.
It's official I am a full time student once again! I am not attending a MFA program as one would think but attending CCAC to receive an Associates in Welding. I value education and one day may feel the time is right for a MFA but right now I want to master what currently inspires and that is welding!
Welding school has been very rewarding and I'm looking foward to having certified welds on all my future sculptures. As a contemporary artist that is always thinking abount new concepts and ideas I try to never forget to practice the most simple concept of all "craftsmanship." The need to master welding was one of my major motivations for my educationinal choice and I know it will pay off.
This weekend marks the end of AlloyPGH 2015 artist residency. It was a rewarding project where I was given the opportunity to work with 10 other fantastic artist in an amazing space. The unique experience of creating artwork through AlloyPGH for display at the historic Carrie Furnace will be one I will never forget. The goal of this residency was to share a unique family story about my grandfather Stan Kwasny through a balancing sculpture. This goal was achieved after the completion and installation of STAN but the moments that took place during the one month AlloyPGH exhibition were truly serendipity. My grandfather and I enjoyed talking about the industry he worked for during the AlloyPGH opening. He also got the celebrity treatment at the opening when people learned he was the real Stan and the inspiration for the STAN sculpture. I got to meet many new people through the artist talks and events at Carrie Furnace like Ron Baraff and the amazing Rivers of Steel staff, mayor John Fetterman, Mattress Factories Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, artist Mary Jane Jacobs, and many local families that also shared connections to Pittsburgh's industrial past. The variety of people attracted and inspired by Carrie Furnace and the AlloyPGH residency made it a really unique once in an life time experience.
STAN , 2015
Steel, Coke, Ceramic Cup
STAN is a steel sculpture that balances 1 ton of Clairton Works coking coal and 1 cup of black coffee in a United Steel Workers Union ceramic cup. The inspiration for this piece comes from a story shared by my family about my grandfather Stan Kwasny. From 1965 – 1995 my grandfather drove to Clairton Works with a ceramic coffee cup in hand. His ceramic cup without a lid seemed to never spill a drop, despite how tired my pap really was. His strength and balance was a common trait of many blue-collar workers from our region. I respect the work his generation did to build the foundation of our city, and admire their work ethic, trade skills, and strength. The coffee my grandfather had on his commute helped him provide the large amounts of coke that Carrie Furnace needed to create steel. He was a part of an industry and a union of men and women that committed their lives to building the infrastructure we can continue to appreciate today.
It was very exciting and rewarding to unveil STAN at the opening of AlloyPGH 2015 located on the historical Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark grounds. The biannual art residency included 11 artist who spent 9 months researching, planning and constructing of site specific works. STAN was inspired by my grandfather Stan Kwasny who worked for 30 years at Clairton Works and was a member of the United Steel Workers Union local 1557. My grandfather including immediate family all came to the opening of AlloyPGH where we enjoyed art, sun, and embracing the industry workers who built Western Pennsylvania during its most industrial times.
Today is the day!
Come visit Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Swissvale PA, 15218 for the opening of the biannual art exhibition AlloyPGH.
Art, food and drink served from 1pm - 5pm buy tickets at the door or online at showclix.com
I won't be posting any finished pictures of STAN until after the opening of the biannual alloyPGH 2015 exhibit. So here are a few teaser photos to build some hype until 9/26/15.
STAN sculpture is finished! It's all ready for its unveiling at AlloyPGH which opens this Saturday, September 26 at Carrie Furnace.
The address is, Carrie Furnaces North Braddocksfield Avenue Rankin, PA 15104.
Tickets our on sale now! $20 for adults and anyone under 18 are free! Check out the following link for ticets. www.showclix.com
Today we finished up STAN by adding the Coke and insuring everything balanced. My Dad came down to help with the fun task finishing the sculpture. Afterwards my Mom, Alison and Lydia came down to see the work finished and take some photographs.
STAN hits the open road! Leaving the shop in Smicksburg with the final destination of Carrie Furnace is exciting! The trip was a haul with no ploblems and everything stayed tied down nice and tight!
A week before installation at Carrie Furnace some prep work needed to be done. First, an unrusted piece of STAN needed transported home for a little PATS POWER PATINA! Afterwards, a tow hitch needed mounted to the truck so it could pull the 6'x 12' uhaul untilty trailer. Installing a trailer hitch is tricky but luckily I had a little helper. Now on to installing the work at Carrie Furnace!
For one low easy Payment of $6.99 you too can rust your own metal sculpture! Just Grind, Mix, and Apply Pats Power Patina for a hipster approved vintage rust finish!
I didn't post any photos from my last work session over labor day weekend. I ran into a few problems so no photos were taken. One problem being the front needed some extra weight to balance the coke. The second problem was the weight of the coke was putting stress on a few parts of the sculpture. After problem solving with some fellow artists, family and friends a solution to fix STAN was found. Without hesitation an emergency work session went down this Sunday to add reinforcements and extra weight to the front of STAN. Theo Camut aka my dad helped grind and spray the steel with our secret rust solution. So one last thank you to all who helped trouble shoot this whale of a sculpture.
Round three went down this weekend and a lot of progress was made. First, picked up another truck load of coke from Carrie Furnace to insure I have 1 ton on hand. After driving the coke to the workshop for safe keeping the productive work weekend began. The basket is now finished and the stand for the sculpture has been fabricated. With all the parts to the STAN sculpture puzzle completed, it is now ready to be cleaned, painted and assembled!
Round two went down this weekend! Made some progress on "STAN" now only 5 weeks remain till AlloyPGH. This work weekend consisted of building DIY stands to get the 25 foot sculpture off the ground. Once off the shop floor I was able to begin building the bin that will hold one ton of coking coal.
The sculpture known as "STAN" about my Pap and his career at USS Clairton Works is starting to take shape! I was nervous about the scale but after two full days of fabrication the 25 foot structure is sturdy and strong. The next jobs are to finish the coke bin and stand so I can start the process of balancing the Coke and Coffee.
Mark your calendars AlloyPGH 2015 takes place at Carrie Furnace on September 26th. Featuring 11 Pittsburgh artist at the historic site it's sure to be #FIRE!
Todays visit to Carrie Furnace for a truck load of coke marks the start of constructing "STAN" my sculpture proposal for AlloyPGH 2015. I was excited when given permission to use old coke found on sight at Carrie Furnace since it was originally from Clairton Works. On top of having coke from where my grand father Stan Kwasny worked the sculpture will be displayed in an area where coke traveled and was stored until used in the steel making process.