Saturday, February 8, 2014

Iron Horse

image by glenn buttkus

Iron Horse

“Sculpture occupies the same space
as your body.”--Anish Kapoor.

Along the busy highway
heading up toward Mt. Rainier,
an artist, a metallurgic iron sculptor,
has his studio--

a very large warehouse-like barn,
that has to be lit with floodlights
& open hay loft doors, where
he creates huge sculptures
of everything;

horses, giraffes, ostriches, roosters,
bulls, saddles, pioneer conestoga wagons,
motorcycles with skeleton riders,
T-Rexs, tortoises, raptors, cows, bear,
elk, deer, moose, bison, even Sasquatch--

all life-sized or bigger, made from
scrap iron gathered from all corners
of the world, old car fenders, grills,
bumpers, radiators, wheel rims,
brakes, drive shafts, pistons,
steering wheels--broken discarded
factory machinery & steam shovels
& earth movers & D9 Cats--gears
with broken teeth, from fist-sized
to 8 foot tall behemoths--old stoves
& ovens from the 30’s, washing machines,
refrigerators, fans, truck winches, doors,
& hood ornaments & license plates--

with a cluttered scrap yard fenced in
behind the barn, piled high with fresh
junk, laced with sparkling patina;

& every finished sculpture, scattered
about on over an acre, 
are just bare metal, 
covered with delicious rust, 
nothing ever painted or stained,
standing naked & proud.

One of my favorites is the Iron Horse,
no not one of the five actual horse
sculptures made of iron, but a life-sized
train locomotive, made up of commercial
boiler parts, with large stunning rivets
dotting the rotund surfaces, tall iron-
rimmed wheels off farm equipment,
with bed frame rails connecting them
together, metal pipes decorating every edge,
wrought-iron spines, a towering smoke stack
made up of severed metal barrels, and
the metal bindings off wooden barrels,
the empty housing of a stolen street clock
comprising the locomotive’s large headlight,
a cow-catcher comprised of cut-up car doors,
with an engineer’s cab made up from re-cut
out slabs of flat steel plates.

Not only are there dozens of sculptures
to look at, walk around, touch, & enjoy, but
there are also patios, porches, & lawns
littered with decomposing bicycles, children’s
red wagons, toy cars, cribs, wringer washing
machines, antique stoves, fireplace hardware,
several rocking chairs and fat tea pots
with plants growing out of them, & pieces
of furniture made from elk, deer, & moose antlers--

an abstract Wonderland, art to interact with,
the life’s work of a genius, a welcoming space
where one can wander for hours for just
a five buck donation shoved into a shark’s mouth
made up from old clutches & pressure plates;

sometimes the sculptor is actually there, working
in the open barn, usually 12 feet high up on a
pipe scaffolding, perhaps welding a head onto
another dinosaur--

you can wave at him, but he has his welding mask
down & pretends not to notice you, just focusing
on the torch flame & his next weld--so you just
leave him to it, smiling on the way back to your car,
wearing, hugging the magic you’ve participated in. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this Sketchbook Poem to you?


Brian Miller said...

nice....scrap yard art can be really cool...we have a guy about 45 miles north that takes old scrap metal and re-images it into art...the metal as it rusts is art too, ever changing....i would love to meet this guy...

Mary said...

Glenn, that sounds like quite an amazing place. I do think it would be fun to wander around in this 'studio' if one were passing through, but I wonder what his neighbors think of all the STUFF he has sitting about. The iron horse does look really unique, and I admire the talent of the man who constructed. There definitely are artists of all kinds, and I enjoyed reading your poem even though (if he is married) I'd feel a bit sorry for his wife. Smiles.

Björn said...

Actually... He sounds like a poet in scrap metal... isn't that what we do sometimes... creating poems out of used words... welding them together... and behind our blogging masks we are just the same...

Anonymous said...

I love trhese sketches. I can't see where anything else is needed. I'm all for this kind of writing Glenn. I have a feeling you do as well. >KB

Claudia said...

oh i would love to visit you know jean tinguely...he does scrap sculptures as well... very cool... you put me right there

hanna said...

methinks I can smell the rust dust in the air.
Fascinating place to wander through. Does he make weathervanes?
I've always fancied one of those in reclaimed metal.

Anonymous said...

this year we stopped off of I90 on our way to Wyoming and drove through a field full of metal sculptures.

Funny that even South Dakota can have an oasis in the midst of the the sunflowers and corn.

Gabriella said...

You have described a place that seems to be teeming with objects, activity and creativity. I enjoyed the list of sculptures. What a variety!

Anonymous said...

a rusty wonderland!what a fun! K

kkkkaty said...

Haven't been there..know my grandson would like it (Snoqualmie) that is a great sketch with all the details in tow;)

Laurie Kolp said...

Sounds like a treasure to explore... and you made me feel as if I were there.

Grace said...

Well I have never been to one & would really like the artist at work ~ Cool one Glenn ~

Ronald Shields said...

Great sketch of a wonderland of scrap-art.