John Barber Studios is closing up shop and moving to Dripping Springs, Texas!
Dripping Springs is a small town west of Austin. The plan is to build a new building and transfer my studio and my teaching program to the Hill Country. My departure date is August 1st of this year. I am still teaching classes through the end of July.
So, if you have been contemplating taking my welding class or private lessons and haven’t gotten around to it, this is the time to do it. We are offering the Basic Welding Class in July (on the 8th, 15th and 22nd), and we will pick up the Project Class and the Welding for Women class at the first of the year when I get my new facility set up.
I intend to keep up with my Marine Wildlife Artwork and I am eager to explore the Austin market and see what type of work is happening there. I think that a new environment and a new audience will be good for me. I have been in the same location for 38 years and although Houston has been a good place to make a living and do artwork, now I’m excited to say that I am off to a new place and new horizons.
Actually, I’m not that far away, and I’m not going to disappear entirely, I am only 3 1/2 hours away. I will post pictures of the move (I can’t believe how much stuff I have accumulated over the years.) We are thinking about some Hill Country Weekend Welding Workshops. Let me have some feed back on that idea!
Welding is an industrial process that has been in common use for a little more than 100 years. Welding is dependent on an established electrical grid for its power source, so the two grew up side by side. In an incredibly short time, welding and metal work in general have come to dominate our material lives. We are surrounded by steel sheet metal of the type I use to make my Artwork. All of your kitchen appliances, your washer and dryer, the family automobile, are made from sheet metal.
Carbon Steel is the basic building block of the metals industry. It is the molten material poured from the giant crucibles with no additional alloys or hardening procedures involved. Steel is separated from iron by a fractional amount of carbon that allows steel the incredible tensile strength that makes it so useful for building our civilization. I use sheet metal in 20ga, which is about the thickness of the older model cars, like your father’s Buick from the 50’s and 60’s. Sheet metal has a remarkable property of having a slippery cellular structure that allows it to be hammered into compound curves without fracturing. In addition, most metals can be joined by heat alone unlike wood or ceramic or fabric that requires an adhesive or mechanical fastener.
Most industrial processes use large presses to pound the metal into the desired shape in one shot. The machine is set up to produce many parts per hour. My work is closer to medieval craftsmanship that requires a hammer to mold the metal into the desired shape over a period of time. The skill involved is knowing where, in what sequence and how hard to strike the metal. In that sense, nothing has changed since the 12th century when armored knights were covered head to foot in chainmail and steel plate. The English long bow changed all that, but that is another story.
I am able to use some modern tools and a lot of older techniques to make unique Artworks that are very light and strong, and last for generations.