Folks Entering downtown on 5th street frequently do a double-take at the El Arroyo sign. What smart ass comment did the famous (infamous?) Tex-Mex place put up today. Well now you can follow ‘em on Twitter at http://twitter.com/elarroyosign so you don’t miss a sign if you haven’t made it downtown lately.
One of the must stops for me at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is Daryl Coburn’s booth. I absolutely love the art and the craft involved in his copper art and sculpture. This year I found out that Daryl offers a two day workshop called Embrace your Essence. In this workshop you learn to work with copper, a hammer, an acetylene torch and small hand tools to create a gorgeous copper sculpture that you take home with you. Just as importantly you spend a lot of time with a journal writing your thoughts and feelings about the blocks you have towards achieving what you’d like to achieve.
Day 1 begins with cutting out a 2’x3′ sheet of copper from a larger sheet (oh boy! get to play with a hot torch). Then you anneal the copper and crumple it into a ball–flames and a hammer. You spend a large portion of the day hammering the copper, and annealing it. Annealing realigns the molecules in the copper, and softens it making it easier to hammer and shape–Daryl uses this as a life metaphor. You have plenty of time waiting for the copper to cool–you can use the time productively by journaling.
Day 2 you get to unfold your sculpture (another metaphor). You unfold it by using your hands and pry bars. I tried to use my hands as much as possible..it was interesting the marks my hands would leave on the soft surface. When the copper gets stiff you use the torch to anneal it and start prying it apart again. It was interesting to me that everyone got to a point where they sensed that they’d created a piece of sculpture (instead of a bit of crumpled metal) and stopped. Of course Daryl helped by urging us to look at the metal at every step instead of just banging away at it.
After the sculpture is complete you add a patina using common household chemicals. It is astonishing how you can get such a deep patina by using heat, hammering and a couple of common chemicals. After two days of hard work and introspection (under the eye of a master) you’ve created a piece of art. A deeply satisfying experience. If you’re interested in creating art, like working with your hands or just want a memorable experience I highly recommend this workshop.
Ever flown in to Austin and seen karts racing around near one of the runways at Austin Bergstrom? That’s Iron Rock Raceway – a karting track that’s open to the general public. Yesterday, as part of an Austin EO event I got to race a 9 hp Kart around the short track. The top speed for this Kart was around 45 mph. The Karts are low to the ground, have an open cockpit and the turns are tight–45 mph feels plenty fast. I can’t imagine how fast the 40 hp High Performance Kart would feel. Although Iron Rock Raceway generally works on a membership basis you can go and rent the Karts from MRP Austin.
MSNBC has an interesting article called "24 hours in Paris"–basically what to do if you only have a 24 hour layover in Paris. Got me thinking what would I recommend for 24 hours in Austin. I’ll pull something together soon. Your thoughts…comments are open.