As a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, a woman, and one half of a partnership bold enough to commence a business two years ago in Michigan's, and the globe's, challenging economic climate, I'm pretty excited to have, a mere 17 months after officially throwing open our portals, hired two full time employees. We (John Daniel Walters and myself by way of METAL) have doubled our staff and I hope more than doubled our opportunities even as we exponentially intensified our responsibilities.

This occupational expansion is both a risk and a necessity if we are to develop and better METAL's concerns. We want the best opportunities for our business, our community, our staff, and, actually, for each world economy and their populace. We want to improve conditions for the many rather than the few and so we dare to remain in motion and strive to effect "sound business practices" (in the vernacular of the day) but also to have the temerity to leap into some less trodden courses for a business of our size. Our quest to be a culture and community over a mere point of commerce is based on the striving of John and myself to remain aware of our effect on the environment via conservative use of resources and acts of reclamation and the sharing of materials (we share utilities and conveniences and even collaborative projects with Pot & Box our northerly neighbor) as well as feeling that "community" is the way in.

Life, economies, business, etc., all run in cycles, it is true. Innovation, creativity, inventiveness, however we reference the energy that sparks the imagination, also have cycles, which function like the tides. To stay in balance requires us to navigate the ebb and the flow of economics, inspiration, human exchange and swift moving technologies. My business partner and I, and now our staff, have to work smart, and diligently, to survive and to thrive AND to meet our goals of creative, visionary, enterprising and expressive works in an age and in a culture where "art" is frequently deemed valueless to a large majority of the citizenry and where the well designed, strongly made and beautiful is challenged by the cut-rate.

This employer, this artist, this, to hone it down, problem solver is gratified by our clients satisfaction and pleasure in our designs and in our constructions. I am fascinated by how others utilize what goes out of our gallery when they make off with a salvaged piece. I am ever curious about the fine art that people gravitate to and solicit us to make. I am eager to see how e-commerce connects us internationally and if it does so as much as our design capabilities have. I am, simply, and perpetually, intrigued and interested to see what happens next and how it happens.

As a small business owner, a woman, and half of a partnership that is artful and enterprising, functional and bold, I am excited about the possibilities that I see but that are, by no means, a guarantee of a favorable evolution. I am measured and yet brazen and fully acknowledge our need of both patrons and personnel that invite our very best and, in their trust and surrender, allow us to do what we do with verve and optimism and attention to the slightest detail to design and to make goods of the highest quality.


Fundamental Chaos

Fundamental chaos: it is a note I find and re-find written to myself in an effort to encourage recall for an intended poem. I get notions for verse, and other written bits, and I jot them down in an effort to keep them closer to consciousness than memory allows. It is, oft times, years between conception and fruition. The phrase noted above is the flip side of a reminder on which I wrote "elemental chaos". Which came first? Original trajectory often gets waylaid but detours work just fine in my approach to writing and living.

I lead a life that suits me. I do work that enriches me.  I am privileged to consort with talented and energetic people who inspire and transform me. I am, in the present time, more happy than not. The elements that collide to form my days are more kismet than construct and there is a continuing and lovely sense of opportunity.

The answer to the question, "what do you do?" (in the sense of what occupation or work occupies or identifies me) has, for most of my life, eluded me. Would that it were one thing or another but it is one thing and another. There is a hierarchy: writing, visual arts, business (my own- whatever that might be at a moment), film, etc. At sixteen years old I started a house cleaning business. I liked setting my own hours, working with those I wished to work with, creating time for creating. In those days there was a life of hitchhiking, adventure seeking, exploration and a conducting of living experiments (I'm not talking burning of ants here but of setting my notions of "living" on fire).

John Daniel Walters and I started a business together that we call METAL. It is an alchemy of intentions: hub of exchange, fabrication shop, gallery of repurposed, salvaged, and artful items; performance venue, an arena for problem solving and expression- it becomes what we who enter into it are. It suits us, John and me, and we suit it. Because of the malleability of matter it evolves as we do. It advances as our experience does.

In Greek mythology c/Chaos was said to be the foundation of reality and the first deity and god of air. We know chaos in other aspects and each of them are relative to my notes and to the formless state of an idea preceding its commencement.

Perhaps, more void than form, this chronicle is a testament to things that are mysterious and things that now form an answer: I am an owner of METAL, with John Daniel Walters , and this month we celebrate the start of our second year of transacting and producing as METAL. It's a fundamental gratitude that I share here. Happy anniversary, John, patrons, associates and Rosie.




Forklifts, Freightliners, five thousand pounds of fabrication table, these are a few of my favored things. I grew up in the world of manufacturing. I picked through waste bins, hunted beaches for rusty bits as much as for stones or shells, and was about three when I visited Watts Towers for the first time and still marvel at its mix of found objects and invention. Its influence on me was immense.

Buying "used" and "vintage" items has always been a more interesting method of accumulation and it allowed for items already imbued with history. It was a challenge to go on The Hunt and more gratifying to find something sought after in a garage sale or thrift shop (or dumpster and flea market) than to buy it new.  I came of age as the first Earth Day was celebrated and took reclamation and the conservation of resources seriously.

Today, with fabrication, found objects, and artful works at the fulcrum of my days, I can't ignore the confluence of events that brought me to produce METAL: a love of nature and the wish to do what I can to protect it and to conserve resources for future generations of fauna and flora; work in Tucumcari, New Mexico annually for some thirteen or so years (with a host of artists and casting enthusiasts) creating sculpture from recovered cast iron; a satisfaction in rallying people and of collaboration and the challenge of seeing what can be done with what is at hand (and who is at hand that has the will and the way to do what needs to be done). I am deeply gratified and moved by facility and by those that have a talent and aptitude and the energy to nourish such.

Back to forklifts, Freightliners and fabrication tables- these are the perquisites of METAL meeting the road but they are also the reality and the necessities for creating sculpture, finding and retrieving salvaged goods, and producing large scale works of the sort that John Daniel Walters and myself have a keen fondness for and attraction to. They are the fun and the means for a girl that thinks tough and free-spirited but is most skillful with matters of the mind over materials. At the end of the day I am more a heavy lifter of weighty visions than maestro of machinery.