A number of years ago my good friend Noella attended one of our workshops. She is a talented, award winning sign artist I've admired for as long as I can remember - one of my heroes. The signs she and her team create are amazing! Noella is always eager to learn new things which she demonstrates each time we get together. That workshop (and others since) was no exception.
At the workshop we gave a demonstration of welding, something she had never tried previously. She was first in line when it came time to give it a try. A while later she asked me if she could really build something and suggested it be a rock, a simple project to start with. Noella bent the pencil rod into a rock shape and welded it up. Next came the wire lath, another first for her, followed by the fiberglass reinforced concrete. The next day I saw her excitedly painting the rock with our iron paint which rusts over time. It was a good looking rock. Noella lives in Ontario and when it came time to go home the rock, too big to take on the plane, stayed behind. I wasn't sure what to do with it but I decided to store it out back in our boneyard to see how the iron paint would hold up on concrete over time. The answer to my question about the paint is that it held up just fine and the rock developed a beautiful rusty patina over time. I was determined to put Noella's efforts to good use when the right time came.
Today I started welding the frame for the fun directional sign for Cultus Lake Adventure Park. As I looked at the drawing before I started I saw that I had designed the roots to be hollow underneath. It looks cool but I know from experience that this could mean maintenance would be compromised as dirt would love to hide there. I decided to 'grow' the tree over a good sized rock instead and I knew the exact rock I would use. It's going to look very cool when we are done.
Noella went home from that workshop really excited and inspired. As soon as she got home she bought a full welding rig and learned how to use it too. She's built some pretty cool projects with it since.