A heart of steel

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - Kkielich@ches­pub.com

CONOWINGO — Chuck Ja­mack is an artist, but per­haps not in the way that most peo­ple tra­di­tion­ally think of an artist, for he is an artist of steel and fire.

He welds metal pieces to­gether to cre­ate sculp­tures and yard and home dec­o­ra­tions. Work­ing out of his home in Conowingo, Ja­mack has a true pas­sion for his work.

“I’ve been do­ing it for years, mak­ing stuff out of metal,” he said. “I’ve been a welder since I was 20 so I’ve al­ways been artis­tic through other things, and met­al­work just fell into place. I just en­joyed do­ing it and peo­ple like what I do.”

Ja­mack took his love of art (in the past he loved to draw, but paint­ing wasn’t his forte) and trans­ferred it into some­thing he al­ready had prac­ti­cal skills in. While he was able to sell a few works decades ago, it re­ally wasn’t un­til re­cently that Ja­mack had the push he needed to take his art to the next level.

“I made a wa­ter­fall for my wife, and af­ter that, she’s en­cour­aged me to start mak­ing other things,” he re­called.

It’s that ex­act wa­ter­fall that’s gar­nered him some at­ten­tion as of late. A beau­ti­ful and hyp­notic cas­cade of wa­ter over a sheet of glass onto rocks be­low framed by rus­tic metal, it’s a piece that could be stared at for hours. Af­ter dis­play­ing it at the Havre de Grace art show, Ja­mack re­ceived or­ders for new projects.

But there’s a give and take for Ja­mack when mak­ing these pieces.

“It’s trial and er­ror re­ally,” he said. “If I’m mak­ing some­thing and it’s end­ing up that I’m not liking it, I’ll have to redo it. Fig­ur­ing out how to build the wa­ter­fall came eas­ily, but I also built a light­house which was a bit more dif­fi­cult since I had to get the right di­men­sions.”

Ja­mack seems to be do­ing well right now, with more and more tak­ing no­tice of his skills, al­though he doesn’t want to dive too deep into these projects just yet.

“I don’t want to get too crazy right now, but once I re­tire I hope to sup­port my­self,” he said, “and of course I’d like to do more projects.”

But per­haps be­yond mak­ing things for money and busi­ness, Ja­mack sees the true value of his work.

“It’s the en­joy­ment that peo­ple get from what I make,” he said. “The wa­ter­fall at the art show ... just watch­ing the peo­ple en­joy that thing was ev­ery­thing in the world to me. I don’t have to sell any­thing just for that mo­ment of time.”

The minia­ture light­house and welded wa­ter­fall, two of Chuck Ja­mack’s metal cre­ations, sit out­side his home in Conowingo.

CE­CIL WHIG PHO­TOS BY KRIS KIELICH

Sculp­tor Chuck Ja­mack, of Conowingo, stands with his welded wa­ter­fall and light­house cre­ations.

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