Each one is like a trophy

To give a visual I made this ‘mountain range’ based on what I have been working on at school. It is best understood like the journey of a marathon. Peaks and valleys are sharp some days you are coasting other days you swear you will quit or get left for dead on the side of the road without one of those nice people who will give you a cup of water! I am not certain what has been harder the mental or physical demand for certain it has been a complete workout or work over of mind and body!

Once upon a time I used to be afraid to light the barbeque, not anymore. Many days I light the oxy-acetylene torch and track cutter at school, which I thought I would never feel okay about and then marvel at what I am doing. “It is unnatural”, one Instructor said, here we are banging metal, joining it, working with it and learning how to make a structurally sound weld. At UAPICBC there are 32 welding booths, well equipped with ample room for the welder and/or Instructor and even a couple of other students who may want to watch a demonstration.

I was so happy to complete the SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’ and am now well on my way to completing the GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’. Every welder who is working towards Level C must complete this and then go onto finish a CWB test and fulfill 1000 hours to obtain the ticket.

Each one is like a trophy, a terrific amount of work goes into the ‘coupons’. Measuring, cutting, grinding, welding and grinding again. Only to pass or fail. I have not yet come up with what I will do with all of them when I am finished, maybe put them in the garden or make some sort of sculpture.

I like the combination of science, functionality and creativity that exists in the trade. In the middle of the bend is the weld, which you can’t see. The welder who is successful will join two pieces of steel together making them one. Then you will go to the ‘heart breaker’, a press that tests the strength of the weld, aptly named by students and have it tested to see if it is structurally sound. It’s a pass or fail every time.

Thankfully safety gear is the best it has ever been and is getting better all the time, after a while I get used to wearing all of the equipment, if I ever get lax and don’t want to or forget because I am in a hurry, one small accident will solve that, whether it is slag in the eye or a burn.

First lessons learned: Safety, Setup and Comfort.


Live dangerously in a small Village

The title might insight you to think of the bygone days of youth when you were free spirited and did not think about the consequences of your choices or actions.

The phrase was spoken to me as I crossed the fancy intersection at No. 1 Road and Moncton. It was just the two of us there, even though there are eight different ways to cross we just happened to be crossing on the same side at a specific moment. He was a ‘come from away’ or cfa as they say in Nfld. Not of the Vil, just a visitor. He had a favorite cafe that he frequented and now he was crossing on the red hand, before the white man appeared.

I hesitated. Looking at the lights, the corners, the myriad ways before me of crossing one of my favorite intersections.

“Oh go on, he said, live dangerously” “Yes …. yes in a small Village!” I chimed in. We laughed and wished each other a good day

It got me thinking about living dangerously.

To look at a stranger, greet someone whom you don’t know with a smile, or look a person straight in the eye and say, hello, how are you, really, tell me. This isn’t living dangerously, or is it? It is a common occurrance, a kindness given.

ImageOn the subject of welding, I came to the conclusion that although it is ‘dangerous’ as a job and pursuit, I put it on the same level as mothering and caring about people. I think to live dangerously is to care about people since it requires the most from us.

I am learning the only way to make a good join that is industructible is to pay close attention to every angle, to the placement of the weld bead, travel speed and correct amp temperature coupled with a immense steady patience that gives you enough time to run the length of the rod into the metal are some key components. I make parellels between the two realms for the reason that I know about mothering and caring for people.

I see a similarity where the inherent commitment involved in bearing and caring for a family like learning the trade of welding, is nothing short of life threatening and unpredictable.

A film that portrays this well and is worth viewing at least twice — the second time with the Director’s comments, is Ron Howard‘s, Cinderella Man based on the true story of the famous boxer and family man James R. Braddock, it is truly a remarkable story which gave me hope and inspiration in these last weeks. Happy Canada Day to you, your family and those you care for in your community. ~e

Monsters spawn in the darkness

Kagen was busy revealing to me the secrets of Minecraft (not just a game for hipsters) all in a matter of seconds before he set off for school one morning.

The title of the post is what he said nonchalantly in a manner only an 11 year old can; not being concerned, nor displaying any anxiety, he proceeded to introduce me to the monsters.

Go to the mobs section, you will need some time in order to understand the passive, neutral and hostile characters.

Be fore warned, only go the the sandbox if you have some time, not just for a view because likely you will not get out of the wiki space before lunchtime if you visit on your coffee break. The phrase tweeked my interest and cued me to think of various kinds of monsters I have become acquainted with.

They go under the modern names of depression, ocd and anxiety.

I do not sneeze at any goodness that may come my way in the form of many fine small gestures throughout the day because monsters that spawn in darkness shrink back from certain brightness. I choose to play the game of life while I very nearly regularly encounter un-foreseen monsters that dare present themselves in light of day, those are the trickiest ones! Alas after a while, whether hours or days or weeks pass the monsters are swept up and deposited into a bin where they are not recycled.

Like Susan of Narnia, I aim to point my arrow straight at them. Most diminish fast at the sight; others are more stubborn and can only be dealt with by special weapons and tactical. Nevertheless I am given a chance to practice my hand eye coordination.

I have liked to play darts for a long time since arriving in Vancouver in the mid 80’s when John Ottmann and I searched for just the right ones to begin practicing with. Not until many years later did I pick up the darts again. At local pubs I had to make do with broken ones. Some nights I would just go there and throw and throw until I could not anymore. All I wanted to do was hit as close to the centre as I could. I was not thinking of anyone, nor was I fantasizing about individuals while throwing darts. Although the feeling of nailing the mark gave deep satisfaction.

My point is that practice makes good and perfect for you. If not on the mark then very near it which has its own kind of pleasure. That practice of vanquishing the monsters that spawn in the darkness calls for a victorious celebration, every time. When practiced, you are strong becoming stronger. Though the slippery slope of falling into a ravine is a very real possibility, the ground on which one stands soon is still and even because you’ve been standing and keeping on regardless of the ravines to your left and right for quite sometime. I do not attribute my small successes to my ‘keeping on’, although it helps my self esteem!

I attribute it largely to the One who charts my path.

Laser welding vs spot welding

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™.

E ssential skills

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Erika Koenig-Workman

Welcome to the first day of ‘The Journey’ the instructor said.

Five women and seven men sit in room 102 at UAPICBC on our first day of orientation. I am in a covert operation beginning with strangers who embark upon a voyage of work, dedication and pure determination to learn and train ‘to be’ welders. Indulge me for a moment, you know I have imagination!

I travel to far away Annacis Island through an industrial corridor which puts me in the mood to learn about welding and the industry. At the moment I am public transiting which is its own kind of curious experience, except if one is sleeping! It is a journey worth embarking upon and I have all confidence that I will learn ~e ssential skills for welding and life!

As I can I will keep you in the know, with short posts from time to time. Thanks for coming along on this maiden voyage with me. ~e


Aluminum at the Design Museum

Here is teeny tiny writing but worth the read, since it gives a little background history and who took pains to design with it.

Pile o’ aluminum

Aluminum bin at Action Welding


Welding School on Anacis Island will be my destination from 03.03.12 full time for 6-9 months ~ff

I have been working

….steadily at learning the shop environ where of utmost importance and priority is safety for a tradesman or tradeswoman who should rarely be injured because what comes first is a ‘focused concentration’ for the task at hand regardless whether the effort required is great or small ‘we’ have a moral responsibility to respect the equipment and how we as artists/trades people and fellow workers inter act with the equipment at the beginning I really didn’t know how I would fair yet now I feel I am gaining some comfort if you can imagine working in a place that is darker than a room with natural light and heated in one of three rooms in winter….

When the garage door goes up and daylight comes streaming into the shop it is a reward like the hot zing of candied ginger on your tongue ….there is a palpable sense of accomplishment after having worked three hours in the morning and a few more in the afternoon the next best thing to do is build in a little ‘bounty’ in order to honour the physical work accomplished and the sense of feeling productive towards the end of the day is much like the rising of small bubbles to the surface now you can take a breather or two and feel somewhat complete and done although seven or more projects still await their end we press on while deadlines loom large clients call expectant of results after they have placed their trust in your ability to fabricate and assemble a useable commodity it is your assignment to deliver whether you are winning all along or fall down too many times to count. —Freyja Frigg

Advent and a political thriller

Ok….I admit I have started reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest before finishing Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coehlo.

I gave in the day I went to pick up my math book for practice and of course it was 20% off, they made it attractive and all of a sudden my longing to finish the trilogy kicked in and I was ready. I had waited a good amount of time, trying to discipline myself to not rush ahead! I have less than 20 pages to the end of Eleven Minutes, so the ending of my almost fourth novel by Paulo and the beginning of the third novel by Steig awaits me in the next few weeks.

So while Advent proceeds; which means the coming of something or someone significant I read a political thriller and a “An adults only fairy tale” says the Washington Post of Eleven Minutes. There are other books I am enjoying which help me to enter into the winter season, this beginning of a new year that urges me to be in the present while preparing for the future….

see: …I gave


It is week three or four?

‘Arlette’ is tired. She is having her ‘soul’ replenished and renewed. Her steel tanks came first and then ‘Arlette’ built around them. Two large heavy fuel tanks that are ‘done’ ready for removal and replaced by custom made aluminum tanks that are built to hold the maximum amount of fuel for her. Heavy vs light, immoveable vs mobile, it is a natural progression to go to aluminum so she can live happily ever after.

I wonder how it will lighten her load? Will she sail on easier and swifter than ever? Jim the boss man and Olie the whistling welder spear head the whole venture. It is a challenge that not many would take on. A very particular kind of job that requires a good amount of thinking and understanding about three-dimensional space accompanied by skill in fabricating and the physical and mental strength and fortitude to pull it off.

My job is to assist, to make it easier. To pass the ‘surgeon’ a zip cutter, a light, to hold a pipe wrench, a tape measure then to clear the area of any debris and then change the zip disc. My child like curiosity gives me a buzz, to others I am an anomaly, a bit of a mystery.

To break the stern silence of this ‘brutish’ occupation as Jim calls it, is part of my undertaking while I work.  This realm is new territory for me and I like the challenge accompanied by discovery and adventure—it gives me new found energy to work really hard. The most important thing to me is that I remain willing to learn.

Oh Rebecca

The calming affect of light

Not in any particular order I am almost finished reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coehlo, while waiting for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson to come out in paperback.

Out on the coffee table is Metropolis (original short stories) Edited by John Scalzi, I read The Red in the Sky is our Blood by Elizabeth Bear an interesting primer to the film I saw the last week, The Greenhorns. Last but not least Captive by Donalda J. Reid, oh…. and I might have another go at The Life of Pi by Yann Martel because Colin Wright of ‘Blue Canoe and Galiano Island Inn Fame’, highly recommends it and because I am partial to Tigers, Ligers and Lions—well cats in general!

I put books out hoping to pick them up in between working at two jobs and being with my boys. Add to this my modules on welding and I have my reading list for the rainy days ahead.

I am telling you the truth when I write that often the sky out here is looking like a painting by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1881).

I chose this one, The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up painted in 1838 since it reminds me of industry that goes on out here (Steveston, on the Fraser River) everyday.

Earlier this week, I was very excited to hear the news of Seaspan winning the $8 billion dollar contract to revitalize BC’s shipping industry. I am quietly hoping that there will be a place for me to weld too. Weather I work as a union or non-union welder, I am thinking there will be a few more women who will have their work cut out for them weather it be aluminum or steel.

Though I haven’t seen any battle ships lately a few months back the tall ships were in town for a three-day weekend and it was a dramatic display from my studio balcony.

I quickly sketched out with chalk pastel my view of the ships from the balcony. It was romantic moment and in the early days of summer when the air is warm and inviting —plein air, which always feels such a luxury and something I have yet to enjoy more of.

Continuing on with View from Studio 217 VI. What drew me to the place I live is the light, the south east-west exposure and the spectacular changing face of Garry Point.

On this rainy October day the greens are greener and the snow geese come and go flying their familiar formation while  each day, Oliver at Action Welding, runs out to watch while Jim and I smile at his childlike joy of seeing the birds that remind him of his homeland.

The sound of aluminum

Since the new dock went up and the permanent pylons forever cast in the ground, there has been a new sound at Garry Point of an unwelcome nature.

It is the sound of the swaying aluminum ramp as the waves from a sailing vessel sweep under. It stands alone and is rather reminiscent of something you want to put down in order to let it out of its misery.

Without a warm characteristic hum or drone, it is like a horribly out of tune instrument that does not know quite how to fit in.

“As a musician for over 40 years I have heard a lot of ugly sounds in my life time, from ear piercing microphone feedback through a 500 watt P.A. system, to out of tune instruments playing out of time.

I must say however the offensive squawk of the Garry Point Aluminum bridge is now included in my top ten list. Walking down the bridge slowly gave me the creepy feeling that I was walking through a gauntlet of GIANT and very angry crows.

Standing in the base of the bridge made me think of what aluminum might sound like if it had flatulence…”Aluminum Flatulence,” also a good name for a “Light Metal Band”. Standing on the float the squawks created a vision in my mind of a very LARGE Siamese cat in heat. From the middle of the Park the squawks sounded more like squeaks.These squeaks introduced an image in my mind of an older upstairs couple copulating very slowly and carefully on a broken box spring mattress.

I hope any one who reads this will now see these images in their mind as well, when their ears are assaulted. Lets hope that City Council doesn’t promote the bridge as Steveston tourist attraction.”—Ted Hesketh, Musician and Visual Artist

I am hoping that as long as I live close enough to hear the waves, the dredger and working tugs that it will blend into the milieu of industrial sounds that I daily listen to, yet somehow I have a feeling it is going to take awhile.

If it were possible I wish to find a way of tuning it to give it a slightly more appealing voice which harmonizes with the natural sounds of Garry Pt. Maybe now that I am working at Action Welding I can learn from Jim all the secrets to working with aluminum. Come to think of it, I don’t think they make tuning forks out of aluminum, hmm, then again maybe they do.

Aluminum is characteristically somewhat hollow and lightweight depending on the weight of it and a premium metal for marine fabrication, many years ago dubbed “the miracle metal” by those working in the industry. There may well be a few instruments out there, I’ll get back to you on that!

ps: I did find a beautiful double bass…

Available at: 1stdibs

37 minutes with Sandra Bilawich

In 37 minutes with Sandra Bilawich, I view her shop in the beautiful rough hewn urban industrial setting of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

I like women who like to work, weld and express their life and art through working with stone and metal. Attentive to the telling of whatever the material asks while listening to mathematical formulas, applying endless experimentation with knowledge of how materials will behave helps complete an artwork, its no small endeavour.

I say goodbye and thank her for allowing me to intrude upon her work schedule.

I ask myself again: What do welding and mothering have in common?

In welding there are predictable outcomes and results. In mothering — Is it a crap shoot or an act of faith?

The common element in the two endeavors are this:  the intent is to join and form a strong bond between the two sides which first have to be prepared for joining.

The beautiful thing is that I remember the sound and taste of metal, to this end I let it lead me to the place I have waited to see for a long time, it was taken three lifetimes to arrive here

—I [will] keep the faith as Sandra said upon parting.

Be small not big

I think I would combust if I had a four to six digit following. My brain is fast adapting to multi-complex communications in shades of social as I know yours is too.

Fragments shatter every thought and my thinking becomes your public domain. Pieces are available on the open market for further morphing …. ask Keira she will tell you….~ff

break through

Post 50 RrDh 042811

Random reality strikes when you least expect

An artist at the Blue Canoe watched cbc

A celebration televised Danielle Hebert …. there she was, dirty and drenched from riding her BMW bike named ‘Beowulf’ every day all over the lower mainland. A discovery in her Dreams of fish and fishing on the Fraser River at Garry Pt was where history hit her square between the eyes and this became her inspiration on Lulu Island.

There, remnants of metal, money and music deepened into a mystery akin to nature

New Westminster would play a leading role and a potato from Richmond of all things! She reckoned society was ignorant of her sons while she traveled on the bus reading Steig Larsson’s, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Steveston was far away. She gazed out the window noticing the industrial landscape and laughed ….

Amidst Tubular and oddly shaped scrap metal she saw a unicyle beside a vegetable pile, close to WA Farms yet so far from the Wetlands.

Post 49 for 49


One thing I know

When  d r e a m s are crushed they stick on the bottom

of the heel on your left boot—feeling out of sorts you realize

grapes pressed make cheap wine—if you wait a long enough

maturity will lapse  f r o m  q u a f f a b l e (everyday wine)

t o  s t e e l y (attractively crisp with a backbone of acidity)


Meetup ‘to buy no thing’

Commemorate Buy Nothing Day next week at Studio 217 in Richmond~Steveston, see http://www.tigmigfrig.wordpress.com/news

Next up:

Feature Story: Amy J. Steele, Metal Artist….Coming Soon….

Money tree seeds for [fpg]

Some people

think that being an Artist is all about a bunch of hokey pokey crazy lazy things….let’s dispel a few myths people….

Do you sit in Cafe all day and drink coffee then go home have a glass of red wine and try to face your work? Or do you face your work and then add a coffee and a glass or two of Merlot?

Just wondering —hint: there is no right answer….so go figure it out like a Sudoku puzzle it’s about balance and letting the flow settle where it will, add more than a dash of discipline and a dollop of faith and you’ll be truckin’….

Put that in your pipe and smoke it….its better than tobacco and some say—sex….

Open Studios is Opening

Open studios is a few weeks away and I look forward to seeing you!

I’ve been working hard finishing new pieces. In the picture below I am grinding one of my sculptures that will be ready just in time for the show.

Fall Open Studios 2010

Saturday, October 30 & Sunday, October 31, 11am – 6pm
Opening Reception: Friday, October 29, 6pm – 9pm

Islais Creek Studios
One Rankin Street
San Francisco, CA 94124

Islais Creek Studios has plenty of free parking and is conveniently located near 101 and 280 freeways and the Muni T Third.

Directions: Map of One Rankin Street

Several other artists at Islais Creek Studios will also be opening their studios and exhibiting their work. Metal sculpture, stone sculpture,
mixed media, painting, photography and more.

Hunters Point Shipyard will also have open studios on Saturday and Sunday. Visit over 150 artist studios in both locations. Come by Islais Creek Studios on your way to the Shipyard, located only five minutes away. Both locations have plenty of free parking. Part of ArtSpan’s San Francisco Open Studios: www.artspan.org

Best regards,

Rebecca Fox
metal sculpture

NEW! see Feature Story

Jackie Lundman, Woman Welder

word sculpture

Art artist community hope

Industrial Lulu Island

Metal Mother ~ Steveston Trade

welder welding

~ women work

Elaborate sculptures

….filled the horizon. It was early dawn, I had waited for this moment for many moons. Geometrical shapes contrasted with the soft flow of the horizon, did not end.

A dubious desert, full of prickly pear shrubbery coaxed danger in the form of — the javalina.

Hhh, don’t pronounce the Jjj.

His snout was low to the dust looking for luscious spiny fruit….


On my way to piabschool for an intro to plumbing, gasfitting, steamfitting, sprinkler fitting and welding. It is an intro to the intro of the beginning of the beginning! I have lots to learn but am looking forward to new challenges. All I asked was the door be opened and so it has a crack! What lay ahead only providence knows….

Underground shifting

At a cafe today in our Village, I was catching up with online digital tasks since the last two weeks I have been driving off Lulu Island to Annacis Island to attend piabschool. POW is a program for women who are interested in the trades. PIAB, UA 170‘s private school provides an opportunity for women to succeed in a career of their choice within the piping industry by offering excellent training in a supportive working environment in an industry where only 4% are women. From the get go I knew I wanted to weld. I still have 4 weeks to go and everyday I ask myself: is this what I want to study and work at in the years to come?

At Bean and Beyond in Steveston, in between checking websites and waiting for data transfer I read ART revolution by Lisa L. Cyr where she writes about transcending boundaries:

“From 1908-1914 two pioneers; Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque worked collaboratively in search of an alternative form of expression, a different approach to seeing and interpreting the world. With their efforts, Cubism, an artistic vision that allows for multiple  viewpoints to be shown simultaneously, was born…..In addition the Cubist movement gave birth to a more tactile approach to picture-making….under Cubist theory, pictorial reality became multidimensional expressed in multimedia format.”

I used to chide myself severely for not ever settling on a particular medium. It seemed I could not quell the desire to join together numerous elements to make a picture. I understood Marcel Duchamp‘s, Nude Descending Staircase since I had experienced fragmentation, culminating in 10 moves by the time I was 13. So Marcel’s depiction captured well-known feelings that I had contained for most of my childhood. That life was dubious and unstable accompanied by a haunting notion of unpredictability.  Searching for meaning in a world of chance occupied me which later helped develop full-blown existentialism that I chose as my world view for a period of time.

Underground shifting is about perceptives in motion where things are placed in a random order to create something new or unknown. It is subjective to the last degree which is largely what gives it appeal. I end up feeling that when change occurs in life it might look somewhat like this. Non-sensical and heavy laden with meaning and nothing in particular at the same time, it is somewhat unsettling as change occurs and often mentally painful.

With 13 other women I sit in the shape of a circle to redefine or refine a path, a way that I have been going. There are individuals I have met at the school that have given me a strong sense of wanting justice in the labour movement for men and women and have acted according to their convictions to achieve lasting change. I am challenged and inspired to look further than my immediate path by listening to a person’s story.

At the end of the day it may not all make sense like Underground shifting yet what is important is to stay on the path even if you are on the loose shoulder slipping a little. Eventually you will notice an order occurring and you will hit a point when you see clearly an isometric design in the midst of frayed disorder.

CSL Files 217 [2.09] Industrial Diner

Upon arrival within the space of a few minutes Sienna and Kate were sitting at their favorite Diner on an Industrial Island sipping bad coffee in china they loved that was indestructible.

Sienna read Real Estate Weekly but put it aside in favour of Margaret Visser’s “The Rituals of Dinner”.

Kate had just finished chapter two of  Thomas Szasz’s “My Madness Saved Me” and glanced out the front window taking in Szasz’s forceful statement:

‘Virginia Woolf was a victim of neither mental illness, nor psychiatry, nor her husband—three ways she is regularly portrayed. Instead, she was an intelligent and self-assertive person, a moral agent who used mental illness, psychiatry and her husband to fashion for herself a life of her own choosing.’

The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling me over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me. --Virginia Woolf, The Waves

For the few who dared take pleasure in an Island that boasted concrete production and education to those going into the piping industry, it was a cornucopia of industrial delights.

Sienna brought her camera and was determined to capture shots that were full of texture and 256 shades of grey she had learned about in her class, ‘Elementary Concepts of Graphic Design’.

Time was running short so they hurried from the Diner and took their bikes down to the river. There she swooned with a kind of ecstasy, Kate smiled to watch her take pleasure in Industry and trade.

….Geepers, I’ll be wrapping my mind around copper piping; the joining, preparation and care of it, how wacky is that? thought Kate

Metal excited her and she recalled late into the night a subtle metallic taste that lingered in her mouth usually after reading, A Liger’s Tale by Rhea Phoenix.

“When you are ready I’ll go with you, I’m here for you” said Sienna

“I know…” Kate replied as she admired Sienna’s stately amazon like figure.

Her elegant beauty made Kate heady. They couldn’t be more different in stature yet their passion for art, industry and trade brought a visceral excitement, a revelation that caused them to lose track of time when they reminisced over steel, the effects of weather on metal, every manner of and hue of rust—a natural patina that magically and invisibly developed in the dead stillness of nights long gone.

Kate smiled at Sienna recalling her clad in fashionable clothes from the ’80’s as she prepared to visit real estate clients. She would build her professional relationships on her own terms and make art because in her heart lay a child like trust. It was this she listened to and followed, the evidence of it lay in her determination that was as tall as the stature she boasted.

“Let’s go, we have a long ways back to Lulu” said Kate

“Ready” smiled Sienna

Mounting their bikes they found their way back from one Island to another with little trouble and traffic. Flat out riding on concrete they bore down on a beaten highway designed for diesel dykes since they were the ones who could take the heat alone, embodying the strength and wisdom of the Valkyries. They arrived in good time. Sienna pulled in to the driveway and ran into the house to find Gary lounging in a chair in his study with a cocktail in hand.

“Well how’d it go….I hope you took way too many pictures because you know I’ll be ruthless with you” he said affectionately as he kissed her mouth

“Of course hon, as usual I was beguiled. Kate is on her way and I’m excited for her and proud since she left the physics gig behind, she’s moving forward with her art riding the precarious vein of her closest sentiment” said Sienna

“Ah….that’s why I love you, you pull at my heart-strings with words so fine” Gary drew her towards him and she fell into a momentary spell as he caressed the nape of her long neck.

Kate was glad she got back to the studio in the early evening, so she could take in the last light of day. Approaching the entry way of the building she looked down to find a turtle on the concrete struggling half digging itself into the soil. Her memory was jogged, Roberto she thought suddenly….it won’t be long now until the desolation passes. She picked up the turtle and lay it next to the Richmond ditch.

She entered the studio and logged on to find the latest On the road post.

Danielle, it’s all going accordingly, you are finding your way….I knew you would

She walked out onto the balcony with a glass of white wine, the mountains of Vancouver Island were deep indigo blue, the water below, sea grass green—vivid serene colours washed through her with a hope brought on by deep consolation. Looking into the ditch below she pulled out her binoculars to search for the turtle. Surprisingly it still lay there until slowly it moved into the swampy water and disappeared under the surface.



“to make industrial art—

fk the fk-ers”



“What do welders and mothers have in common?” he asked

“Hmm, let’s see, they join things together?” she quipped

“And…” he waited

“They get dirty from the materials they work with, and they have to wear protective gear in order to achieve their objectives” she replied

“Yes that’s right. What about their education” he said

“It’s out of the box, hither and thither, half a dozen and six of another” she said wryly

“Well said. I couldn’t have said it better myself but then I am a man and I know that I have what it takes to achieve everything I want and desire” he trailed off admiring himself

“Interesting isn’t it, that if it hadn’t been for your mother you wouldn’t have the belief you possess for achieving what you want and desire” she retorted

“Oh, I’ve never thought of it that way” he feigned

“Today is a good day to start to think of it that way. What do mothers and welders have in common?” she asked him

“They put their lives on the line, they work in heat of the moment, they put up with a lot of crap and they hold the world together” he said

“Well said. I couldn’t have said it better myself but then I am a woman and I know one day all of the work I’ll of set my hand to will achieve something greater than I can imagine” she trailed off admiring her last effort to make the perfect join.


“Piping Opportunities for Women” Marilee said

“Right, P O W” Freyja retorted

“Call Richard, he’ll give the whole lowdown on that. There are lotsa sisters in the field, that’d be my recommendation” she said

“…..hmm, P O W aka prisoner of war….good one…that’s about right” Freyja chuckled

“What you need to do though is decide when the right time is if you’re going to shoot for the level ‘C’, and I can’t decide that for you. Yep, its the juggle with the fam for us, we put our other work aside, we sacrifice for our children then pick up what we want later and somehow it all works out but its worth it”. Her conviction was certain and practiced. She had the gist of it wrapped up beautifully.

“What about aluminum?” asked Freyja

“No, you won’t touch that until level ‘A’, here have a look at this manual it’s ‘C'” she said

“What about math, what level do I need”

“Grade 10, will do it” quipped Marilee

“Oh good, ‘cuz that’s about what I got”

Marilee picked up the phone and called Richard and said,

“I’ve got a woman here who will be contacting you, her name is, uh Freyja-Frigg….”

The association of women workers who welded was tight. The sisters banded together, they were a family by trade by sheer desire to work with metal. It was a curious thing and beautiful at the same time. Tough and rough diamonds working with steel, copper and aluminum. Unafraid of fire and heat, ready for action, for combat! Ready to suit up and get down to joining.

“Keep in touch k, let me know how it goes”

“I will, thanks for your help” Freyja wandered out to the lobby picking up pieces of paper as she moved to the exit, caffeine was her next stop.

….’what a feeling, keeps me reeling’….a little worn around the edges she headed to the Siren…



a small nectar-feeding tropical American bird that is able to hover and fly backward, typically having colorful iridescent plumage.

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: so named because of the humming sound produced by the rapid vibration of the bird’s wings.

A park by the River and Sea

That’s the moon there seen from Studio 217 early in the morning of Good Friday or was it Maunday Thursday? It was before 7 and I was fortunate to see the moon where I have not seen her before hovering above the horizon. The opposite view is seen in the tiny lens of a Macbook built-in camera. Painterly effects in PS make for a green dream. I in between, have no expertise in colour theory. Colour supposes character, mood and feeling.

If you look closely, you will find me.

The idea becomes the material


Materials found or salvaged can be transformed into una idea.

The idea becomes the material — becomes the idea.

Steveston artifacts; found objects, industrial materials and pieces of stone….Beth my favorite welder in Steveston now gone to Alberta, practiced her welding and master Alberto salvaged the aluminum piece and gave it to me to make something with.

91 is about being on the edge. The stone represents ruins, a fortress on a cliff.

In Hebrew ‘metzudah’ translated is “a fortress on a cliff”.

fortress on a cliff; ruins, open, hiding place, protection, shelter, fort, structure, dwelling

Precipice; noun
a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one: ‘we swerved toward the edge of the precipice’

angles accentuated by the paint, the working of the metal, and textures are meant to give the feeling of falling, straining and extreme pain

Pressure (Oil paint, pastel and alabaster on steel) ~e 08


Break on through to the other side

Immortal Metals

Just down a bit from studio 217 located at ‘The Compound’— on blessed land where the Steveston Harbour Authority holds the keys— is Immortal Metals

most days in the sandbox with the usual sand and zinc blasting out at impossible speeds with heat so sweetly hot you thank your lucky stars that you get out alive at the end of the 45 minute gruel

is where Steveston artifacts, everything metal that goes with a boat is metalized and/or sand blasted to become a thing of beauty that will last well into the 21st century

next up you have a cig or small toke with your coffee break while Frenchie sweeps up a bit and moves some heavy stuff around, he looks for an old butt to suck on while Blackwater Tom adjusts his oxygen levels marveling out how the hot grains of sand filter in through every conceivable fold of his oily get up

Immortal Metals is owned by a legend of Steveston with a number of beauties (sailing vessels) that many envy, although Apoxy Al would beg to differ

all of the folks there to my mind—are immortal since they dabble with their own mortality daily—fishing, welding, blasting, drilling and sanding the hell out of their livelihood—espesicially the women who run the place, I think they have the hardest job — I know they are up for sainthood and maybe one or two of the men

visible and invisible

just showing you the beginning of this funky thing because im getting my mind around working with the most hazardous and poisionous materials ive ever touched but then working with humans is much more dangerous this metal is softer than you can imagine—human flesh is harder

in looking after babies boys and brothers one builds up immunity a callous for the betterment of soul and body

so what im saying is in your softness become tough in your beauty become rough in your heart make art

use beauty to heal not harm


Today we raced down Granville Street to watch a screening of RIP: Remix a manifesto by Brett Gaylor, ripremix.com. It reminded me of the time we raced down to see Georgia O at VAG, the feeling of now or never.

Determination, passion and a little wildness all mixed or mashed together. To do anything because you really want to means throwing caution and copyrights to the wind and then see what happens.

Its a cool adrenalin rush without any toxic substance involved. Its risky but worth it, in the end you land somewhere you haven’t before, you’ve gone through a door or portal and inside you are different.

The thrill is pushing past fear and that’s why extreme sports like unicycling down a mountain side and the act of making mash ups exist. Improvise and see if you become wise. Deep inside we want something so totally new and fresh and alive, jamming the culture and pushing the boundaries to unearth lively questions so we can make loads of room for creativity.

“Me I live for imagination in my dreaming. I’m looking to re-generate my imagination to use it for Good for people, for community, for telling stories, because I have to. Mixing and matching and mashing, collaging my way to the end, that’s my thing. That’s re-generation how the rest happens is mystery”


Quote of the Week

Posted: 15 Feb 2010 03:21 AM PST

Whenever we need to make a very important decision it is best to trust our instincts, because reason usually tries to remove us from our dream, saying that the time is not yet right. Reason is afraid of defeat, but intuition enjoys life and its challenges.

Post 22


The word “armour” came into use in the Middle Ages as a borrowing from the French. It is dated from 1297, as a “mail, defensive covering worn in combat” from Old French armeure, itself derived from the Latin armatura “arms and/or equipment” with the root arma “arms or gear”.

Unlike amour

the way to go is to put on the armour (Canadian spelling) every day, I say armor (American spelling), the word is similar but unlike amour….

Im talking the “metal coverings formerly worn by soldiers or warriors to protect the body in battle”….

helmet—breastplate or chestplate—belt—shield—sword of the Spirit—feet fitted with peacethe absence of hostility

so that’s what I do, occasionally when Im lax I forget momentarily but I always return to the armour ‘cuz Ive learned I need it while here on the planet in the 21st century

let me tell you the cool thing is you meet others—who are suited up and have ridden for a long while

those others come just in the nick of time usually when you are in a ditch by the dyke

amour reappears

—Freyja~Frigg, ww


Reconstructing Steveston by ekw

Oil paint, gears, tiles, wood, nuts and bolts on aluminum

A Liger’s Tale, XIII. Suited Up

“There is no better time than now–precisely, wonderful, done”, Kiera thought.

The Foundry was open from sun down to sun up, closed in the day and working and active through the night, she liked this. Incredibly, it was happening again as she approached, the visceral response to the odour exuding from the Foundry.

It took her back to the beginning as always yet here she was coming full circle back to el futuro,  to the Foundry for her suit of armor (armour). She understood the process of extractive metallury was lengthy, but well worth it. All it entailed was for the metal to be converted with either oxide or sulphur, from ore the extraction came chemically or electrolytically. Ionic bonding had always fascinated Kiera, that is, the bond formed by the attraction between two oppositely charged ions.

She called ahead to give forewarning of her arrival, remarkably cellular technology had advanced so rapidly in the last 45 years that animals used it as easily as humans, and ligers at that!

Remembering vividly the time she called El Bajo to confirm that indeed the sextant made of alum-ore was hers, how happy she was to share the gift of that knowledge with him.

These days it was not a paw or hand held device it was an implant. Of late the implant had persisted to give her trouble, it was not always like this. There was a time when the implant was invisible to her eyes unfeeling to her skin. It had only been in the last 18 moons that there was agitation with it. Still she continued to make use of it for now, it was a convenience and a welcome one.

Kiera thinking…Metal: an ordered collection of positive ions surrounded by a fog or cloud of delocalized electrons.

The thought of it aroused shivers, a discernable physical luxury she relished each time she contemplated metal.

“Enough, I am going to be suited up and that is excitement alone for one day” she chided herself. “one last thought and this will be the end of it and then I will concentrate I promise Hmv….”

“The ‘beauties’….Metals and Alloys….they are in this order….

~aluminum~gunmetal~solder~antimony~iron~stainless steel~brass~iridium~steel~bronze~lead~tin~cast iron~magnesium~titanium~chrome~steel~mercury ~tungsten~chromium~nickel~uranium~copper~pewter   ~white gold~cupronickel~platinum~zinc~gold and last but certainly not least silver”

“….very well done, now go into the Foundry they will be waiting for you.” said Hmv.

Food and drink, refreshment after the seditious journey was at hand. Best of all the suit, her suit custom made to fit with the utmost precision aligned to every contour of her body was awaiting her arrival. She would not be disappointed, the Foundry never duped its own.

One last look behind her, the sun was down, the gates open to the city, into the lovely Livan-drea, the sounds of the Foundry drew her into the night of her suiting the time of the quickening of Kairos. Night light surrounded her entry through the city gates, past the positioning perils–there was no movement in their presence. At this she took note and said,

“Gracias” to Valor, Vigilence and Verve, passing the first level she continued onwards. “That was easy….”, she reckoned.

Creative Commons License
A Liger’s Tale by Erika Koenig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.erikakoenigworkman.com.


As a recently certified welder, I have been thinking deeply about my own choices of what kind of work I want to apply for. I am certified as a ‘structural welder’ by the Canadian Welding Bureau which boasts the highest standards when it comes to structural welding. I can choose to work with any small or large company that have need for welders to weld things together for good!

For example, I have applied to work as a welder for maintenance of BC Ferries, another example would be working with Marine Worker’s Union No.1 for a company that belongs to under the banner of Seaspan. Working in the shipyards would be a unique experience and one that I would welcome. Everyday in the news we hear about Port Expansion and development, I am learning about these issues, about our economy and where the jobs are for British Columbians.

There are three reasons I chose to go into welding. To use the skill of welding in the field of art, to apply it to creating public art and to work with other artists. The second reason I chose it is to have the ability to make more than ‘the living wage’ (which is 18.00/hr). The third and last reason, is that I wanted to challenge myself personally, to learn a practical skill that I could build on and get better at by practice. I look forward to working within the marine environment and hope to use the certification that I worked hard to attain. 

I am supporting the Dogwood Initiative because I will be a part of helping to conserve and preserve the Fraser River Estuary, the wetlands and marshes, and the coastline in general. I have decided that conservation is more important than development and prosperity. At the same time, I think that we can have a decent balance between the two. In the weeks ahead up to election day, I hope to have ongoing conversations with friends, neighbours and co-workers to further educate myself and continue to consider the near future, to understand what expansion and development means for BC’s coastline, so I can make informed choices for my livelihood for the environment and future generations.