Homegrown will be a weekly post highlighting our Holiday Arts Tour artists. NCLAC would like to celebrate the artists living in our own backyard whether they were raised here, relocated, or just like to visit enough to call Ruston home. This years Holiday Arts Tour will be November 18, 19, & 20th. Watch here for more information and tour locations. This weeks artists are husband wife team Paul & Kathy Smith. Paul is originally from Leesville, Louisiana and Kathy is a Ruston native.
ABOUT PAUL & KATHY SMITH
Paul was born in Leesville, Louisiana. He comes from a large family with two sisters and four brothers. Being born the third child of seven , he probaby was the typical middle child. Kathy was born in Ruston, LA, also from a large family of three brothers and four sisters.
Paul played baseball as a young child, worked from the time he was twelve years old. He was very smart in school, active in many clubs and played basketball. Upon graduation from Leesville High School in 1968, he attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA, majoring in chemistry and minoring in math.
Kathy graduated from Ruston High School in 1972 and began working in a local grocery store. This is where they met and began their life-long personal partnership.
Paul trained as a welder at the local vocational school. After he finished his training, they moved to Connecticut where he worked as a shipfitter for general dynamics building nuclear submarines until defense cuts brought about layoffs.
After moving back to Ruston, Paul worked for Willamette/Weyerhaeuser for fifteen years as a maintenance coordinator and Kathy worked at Louisiana Tech library for five years.
During this time Paul's metalworking hobby turned into a profitable business that requires both of their efforts.
Our work is mostly sculptural in nature. Chiefly from recycled materials such as, old plow points, shovels, hoes, farm machinery parts, old glassware and chair and table spindles. Some items are combined with ornamental iron pieces ordered from architectural metal supplier.
Recycled metal pieces are sandblasted to remove the rust and other imperfections before being welded into the sculptures. They are inspected for imperfections and either hand painted with a clear sealer to help deter rust or painted with a rust inhibitor type of paint depending on the item. Glassware is cleaned and holes drilled using a special bit for drilling glass. No glue is used in these sculptures. Bird houses are cut using a compound mitre saw. Butterflies are cut using a plasma cutter and hand smoother with grinding stone.
SMITHS: Yes, artists have the ability to visualize.
NCLAC: If you could live in any other time, when might that be?
SMITHS: Old West.
NCLAC: What, if anything, do you hope others get from your art?
SMITHS: Pleasure and fun.
NCLAC is supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency. In addition funding for the Holiday Arts Tour is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council and administered by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council