Mu­seum pre­pared to re­pair met­al­work

> Art­ful smithies gather for an­nual fix-up, fundraiser

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Art - By Bill El­lis

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

As the ti­tle, “Ev­ery­thing but Cats, Cars, and Bro­ken Hearts,” in­di­cates, Re­pair Days at the Na­tional Or­na­men­tal Metal Mu­seum is pre­pared to fix just about any­thing you care to bring in, from weep­ing chal­ices to weather vanes to mo­tor­cy­cles.

Cel­e­brat­ing its 30th an­niver­sary to­day through Sun­day, the an­nual event and pri­mary fundraiser for the mu­seum will gather from around the coun­try nearly a hun­dred met­al­smiths, sev­eral hun­dreds of vol­un­teers and a thou­sand or so vis­i­tors with items need­ing re­fur­bish­ment.

“It’s a great gath­er­ing of artists and the pub­lic, ev­ery­body sup­port­ing one an­other,” says lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher Sharon Bicks, who was asked by the mu­seum’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Carissa Hus­song, to shoot last year’s event. Bicks’ re­sults can be seen in the mu­seum’s afore­men­tioned show, “Ev­ery­thing but Cats, Cars, and Bro­ken Hearts: Re­pair Days Por­traits.”

“Most of the time, we leave things to be re­paired and you’re not wit­ness to what the artist does,” adds


Peo­ple can get free es­ti­mates and with a re­pair re­ceipt in hand re­ceive free ad­mis­sion to the mu­seum. And while re­pairs are the week­end’s cen­tral draw, the mu­seum has plenty more ac­tiv­i­ties planned, in­clud­ing a demon­stra­tion by Pen­land School of Crafts in­struc­tor El­iz­a­beth Brim, who will make metal pil­lows us­ing an inflation tech­nique that en­tails blow­ing up welded sheets of metal with a tube.

“It’s quite amaz­ing,” says Hus­song. “Peo­ple who know El­iz­a­beth and have taken her classes think it’s a pretty com­mon­place tech­nique be­cause she’s been do­ing it so long, but it’s re­ally very in­no­va­tive and un­usual.” An exhibit of Brim’s work, which runs through Nov. 8 as does Bicks’ photography, can also be seen at Re­pair Days.

Des­ig­nated “Fam­ily Fun Day,” Satur­day will be es­pe­cially busy with demon­stra­tions and at­trac­tions such as cast­ing and jew­elry mak­ing as well as an auc­tion of do­nated art­work and an in­ter­ac­tive com­po­nent for the adults in the “shar­ing of the fruit jar,” a tra­di­tion in­volv­ing the home­made forg­ing of cer­tain li­ba­tions.

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