Monday, May 11, 2009
Welding with Mike Smiley
One of the local artists here in Joshua Tree, Mike Smiley, offered to have a group of us up to learn a little about welding and plasma cutting on Friday. Of course, I was one of the first to jump at the opportunity. Mike is first and foremost a stone carver, but he does wonderful things with metal. The Smiley's yard was filled with his sculpture, and I am sure it will take me more than one visit to drink it all in. They have also adopted two desert tortoise. (Tortoi???)(Tortoises?) hmmm... well, whatever it is to have more than one tortoise...
We had so much fun! Scott Monteith, Lily Stockman, John Lauretig and his wife Nora Lousignont, Matthias and I all got to watch Smiley in action. We even got to try it ourselves, if we were so inclined. We started with a tour of the house and yard. We even got to feed the tortoise some desert dandelion. THAT was fun. We then began by watching Smiley expertly wield the plasma cutter. Then, I jumped to be the first to try using it. BOY, is that ever fun!!! I think I need to sell a big painting, so I can by a plasma cutter all of my very own. Lily was the natural with the plasma cutter, and she managed to cut out a tiny rabbit from our practice sheet. (Sorry I didn't get a photo of Lily's rabbit.)
Then, we went on to the welding. Smiley's welder is similar to our wire feed welder, except that it has about twice as much power as ours has. Therefore, it feels much different than ours, to say the least!!! I can see that I need to spend a great deal more time practicing my welding. Matthias and I need a gate to enclose the courtyard in front of our house. HE seems to think I am capable of creating such a thing. I have serious doubts, especially after spending an afternoon with Mike Smiley, who has been welding for over a decade. Nevertheless, I still want to learn to weld, and I am not ready to give up yet.
In completely unrelated news, I got my hair cut short on Saturday. I love the cut, and there is something really enlivening about a new hairstyle. Pono wasn't very excited about it, but I give him kisses anyway.