That, apparently, is what it is like to be an artistic welder, and spray sparks all day in the process of creating. This is according to Cheryl Garcia, whose studio we had the distinct pleasure of visiting yesterday for an Art Excursion. When she said this, Ben’s eyes lit up in recognition. He knows the joys of shooting sparks and creating something from inside a welding helmet to protect his eyes.

What amazed me about her work area was how lovely and relaxing and joyous and green it was. She is also an organic gardener, who has created a little haven out of her yard. In every direction, there is metal art peaking out from behind something blooming. It is like a treasure hunt, and at the same time a very serene encouragement to breathe and take it all in and relax.

Of course, you never can tell what kids are going to be gravitated to when you take them to an Art Gallery. The boys were absolutely fascinated by an old parking meter that Cheryl had as found art under a giant tree in her front yard. It worked – as far as taking coins, and both boys found a way to put money in the meter. Just as we were getting set to leave, we realized that Bean had untwisted a bolt that was holding the meter in place, and without it, this big piece of metal was actually tilting into the driveway. He is a very good Taker-Aparter. As we stood holding it in place, he worked very hard to put the bolt back in. Cheryl observed that he was also an excellent Putter-Back-Together-er.

As luck would have it, the bolt didn’t want to hold. To me, this is when the artist showed her true colors. She calmly told the boys that they could help her fix it. Bean and I stood holding the meter from falling over, while Ben and Cheryl went to get some tools. The process didn’t take longer than five minutes, but the entire time, the boys were completely engaged and part of the solution, and feeling like they were getting to help the artist with one of her yard art projects.

This may be the part they remember the longest. The hands on, working together alongside an artist who shows work all over the place, has several full time galleries, has commissions that will keep her busy through next year, and gets to have her art as her livelihood – this they will never forget.

We have signed up for her newsletter, and look forward to seeing her at various shows around the area. We got to eat chives out of her garden, and help her fix something. We’re like family now!

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