Mechanical Art of Self-Sufficient living at the Village on Sewanee Creek

My father was the kind of artist who regularly built amazing things out of discarded trash. If he didn’t have the right tool he didn’t go to harbor freight to buy it, he just built it. He grew up on a farm, dreaming of becoming an aviator, building working scale model airplanes, whittling balanced propellers from sticks. During World War II, he became a mechanical flight engineer on bombers in South Africa and Italy. After the war, he built helicopters for the military as a civilian in San Diego.

He built both houses that my brother, sister and I grew up in. One of my fondest memories was when he took Spring Break off of work to help me build a dune buggy from an old ’49 Chrysler sedan. It wasn’t the best choice to start from, but one we had sitting in the back yard. Another treasured memory was building a canoe from scratch that we took down the Colorado River together during another spring break. He was also a skilled oil painter, wood worker, mechanic, welder, electrician, stone mason, worm farmer, dabbler in solar energy, and the list goes on. You name it, he could do it. If he didn’t know how, he tinkered with it till he figured it out.

My parents never owed anyone a dime for either of the houses they built or the land they were built on. When my father passed away, my brother and I went to his workshop to divvy up the tools. We were shocked to find how little was there. His creative ingenuity was amazing. He was an artist in every sense of the word and my ideal model of a Mechanical Artist.

In my career I took a very different path from my father. I was white collar all the way, never developing the skills he spent a lifetime refining. Yet I continuously longed to express myself artistically as he did. I have a dream that some day the Village will be filled with people who have the same desires. These will be men and women with varied experience and talents. None of them will be afraid to get their hands dirty. All will be driven with a desire to create and share wonderful things that make our lives easier, more beautiful, more fun and more practically sustainable.

Please share your ideas on things we can build – together.

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