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Benefit for Ft. Madison Area Art Association

Okay, folks, here’s your chance to get some genuine Curt Swarm junk, I mean art.

The Ft. Madison Area Art Association will be displaying my sculptures, photography and books during the month of November. Half of the sales of my art will go toward a new roof for the Art Association (it leaks when it rains.) There will be a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. Hors d’oeuvres and wine may be served. (It hasn’t been decided yet, pending the COVID situation.) People are encouraged to wear masks.

All kinds of unique sculptures can be created using old wagon wheel rings.

I’ve been making art, or art has been making me, for a few years now and it has been a love affair fraught with heartbreak and heart melt. Art will get you through a time of no money, where money won’t get you through a time of no art.

Writing and photography for me sort of developed together, because a story and picture go together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. Actually, his memorable line is, “We were like peas and carrots, Jenny and I.” Since my wife is Ginnie, and she is my editor, well, the saying is even more appropriate. Ironically, Ginnie despises peas and carrots. But I love’m!

Welding and sculpture building came later in life when I was noticing two pieces of junk metal I had laying around and thought they would look better attached to each other. I had never welded, but thought, “How hard can it be?” Ha! I bought the cheapest 110v welder I could find, and the rest is history. I now have a 220v m.i.g. welder and have made every mistake in the book and then some. I just about burned down the garage, was hauled to the emergency room by ambulance at 2 a.m. with scorched eye balls, and here lately, caught my bib overalls on fire — twice. Ginnie just shakes her head and gets the sewing basket out.

I’m especially fond of old rusty farm junk and cutting and welding it together to form anything from a Loch Ness Monster (in this case, “Empty Nest Monster”) to Iowa’s female astronaut, Peggy Whitson, orbiting the earth (I’m serious). I go to flea markets to find stuff and people give me junk. Often times I’ll have something for a couple of years before I can see a use for it. It begins to talk to me: “Yoo hoo, here I am, use me!” Then it takes on a life of its own. My metal sculptures are on display or have been on display in Jefferson, Fairfield, Oskaloosa and Mt. Pleasant. Some of my photography can be seen at the Two Rivers Bank in Mt. Pleasant, local restaurants and the hospital in Ft. Madison. My art has received awards in Ft. Madison, Mt. Pleasant and Louisa County.

Lately I’ve been into circles. The earth is round, life is round and visions are round (for me anyway). Those old wooden wagon wheel rings are perfect for creating all kinds of sculptures from planets to Galapagos turtles. Add bowling balls to the rings and the “circle of life” is expanded exponentially. My November showing at Ft. Madison will be ripe or rife with circle sculptures that are 100 percent original and make great yard art or driveway markers. I think of these designs in the middle of the night when the creative juices are flowing, my cell phone is silent and there’s no one around to witness my schizophrenia.

In any event, with all that’s going on — the election, pandemic, economic recovery, recovery from the derecho, our unpredictable winter — it should be a “November to Remember.” The address for FMAAA is 825 Ave. G in Ft. Madison. Back in my door-to-door insurance selling days, I called Avenue G in Ft. Madison “God Avenue.” With it’s combination of residential and business addresses, I had great fortune selling insurance on God Avenue. We’ll see if the same holds true for art.

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Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com

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