Rob Gorrell - Folk Artist

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Building a tramp art and tin church box.

Painted Folk Art, Tinware, Tramp ArtRob GorrellComment
tin-folk-art-church-detail.jpg

A couple of years ago I built a series of three small cupboards. Each cupboard was based around some salvaged wood drawers that I have used in a number of projects.  As it usually happens, two sold right away at a gallery show at The Wheeling Artisan Center. The third languished. I tried repainting the piece and was nearly at the point of burning the whole thing. But I held off and stuck it away for future inspiration to strike.

In late 2009 my wife and I went on a trip to Paris, a place that oozes with inspiration, history, art, graffiti, flowers, crazy traffic and great crepes.  One of our favorite things to do is to go to the weekend flea markets to shop.  There was this one table that had two large folk art churches, one metal and the other some combination of toothpicks and other small wood items. At the time I did not give the metal church much thought, to much to see and do. But later on I got to thinking about combining tin with the stored away church box.

One of the many irons I have in the fire is to learn some tinsmithing. I have been aquiring and refurbishing tin tools and occasionally fiddling around with a little tin.  I haven't really made much of anything useful yet, but have been learning more about how the various tools can be used. So I tinkered around and started adding some kinked and curved metal accents to the church.detail of tramp art church with metal accents

This went pretty well. I have plans to rust the metal later on.  We decided that the look I am going for will be post nuclear appocolypse rusty church meets Chrysler Building.  Time will tell.

As the metal went I kept rolling ideas around about what to do with the painted wood flat areas.  I thought about fitting tin inserts, too hard, then gold leaf, too expensive, then settled on punching.  Using my tin punch tools I started tooling the areas much like you would leather or tin punch panels.

This is really starting to look OK to me.  I have raised tin panels cut for the sides that still need to be tin punched before being applied to the sides of the box.  I know what I want to do for drawer pulls and will do them as soon as I get my forge ready to fire up for spring.

One of my many goals is to use less energy resources in my creations.  This tramp art church  is leaning more in that direction. All of the metal work is done by hand, no electricity.  When I forge the drawer pulls I will be using renewable natural charcoal instead of coal.  Granted, a lot of energy was used to produce and transport the tin plate and paints and that is something to work on. But I think it is progress over my older, all power tool method of producing rustic work.  I hope that in the near future I will be adding more hand tool work and less power tool work to my creations.

Stay tuned.....  

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