Steel, Glass, and the Ghosts of Armordale


Shot this yesterday at Union Machine over in KCK.  These guys fabricated an armature last year for our glass installation at University of KS Hospital.  They’re doing more for us this year, only this ugly beast isn’t an armature.  It’s an overhanging structure that will be invisible, yet from which a graceful ribbon of stainless will hang.  From that we’ll hang 3000 lbs of blown glass.  I’ll name site and project later.

Sound complicated?  Let me tell you, after meetings with the artists, engineers,  architects, fabricators, and suppliers, it is.  Just glad to get it done right.  Those rednecks at Union, who remind me so much of my dad and his shop, do everything right. 

My old man’s shop was in Armordale, in the Kaw Bottoms, not far from Union.  He taught me a lot, from welding to framing to loving and cussing.  His assistants–Harlan, Eugene, Kermit –were hard on me when I was a teenager, but in a kind way.  They’ve all passed now, yet I think of them every time I go in that shop.  Without all they taught me, these projects would be more daunting and much less fun. 

Anyway, it was good talking this thing over in the morning sun: the rural accents, the smell of welders, the bad coffee, the jokes.  Those guys always love coming to see the artwork when it’s done, often with quiet pride.  We love showing it to them.  Somehow, I get the feeling that my dad, Harlan and the others are with them–and just as proud. 

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