My old man owned a Sinclair station at the entrance of the small Cuban town where I was born. After my school classes were over, I would — voluntarily — walk over and spend the afternoons lost in a heap of greasy engines, auto parts and mechanics tools. The aroma of gasoline permeated those early days. I loved hanging out with my father and his friends at that gas station. And they all seemed to appreciate my company. These were the happiest memories of childhood, before the stench of politics overpowered everything and the family split along ideological lines.
The four and a half decade-old memories of the Sinclair station resurfaced again yesterday afternoon. That’s when I saw the work of Joel Hester from The Weld House for the first time.
Joel’s a Texas artist and a furniture designer; an artisan and a welder; an entrepreneur and a newlywed. He creates steel furniture from the bodies of long-dead automobiles. I guess that makes him a recycler also. Joel also provides the canvases that his bride, Kathryn Hester, uses in some of her original oil paintings. That makes Joel an artistic collaborator and a pretty lucky guy to boot.
Please visit Joel’s site. Send him a message. Buy a table (they’ll ship far and wide). Tell your friends.
I know what I’m doing with the old Volvo after it hits five hundred thousand miles. I’m shipping the hood down to the Lone Star State.
Here’s some of Joel’s work: