Men’s Shed members will be exhibiting their artistic side all next month at the Artists’ Collective Studio gallery after an opening night bash this Friday, March 2 from 5.30pm where everyone’s invited.
While Men’s Shed president Ian Docherty concedes there may be one or two members who have never stepped foot inside an art gallery, the group’s artistic efforts were spurred by the Shed’s purchase of a $5000 package of Metalcraft tools after a demonstration of the product last year.
The Men’s Shed was able to secure $2000 from Tenterfield Shire Council towards the purchase, which has since attracted keen interest from members. The tools allow cold metal to be twisted, turned and shaped to create a myriad of objects, with imagination the only limiting factor.
The kit was received just prior to Christmas, comprising four scrolling machines, two twisting machines, a bender/roller and a punching/shearing machine, along with accessories. The system allows members to work with a range of metal thicknesses, and Mr Docherty said it’s the female members who are the most enthusiastic.
The Men’s Shed currently has 35 members, including half-a-dozen women.
“They’re very active, taking on everything from welding upwards,” Mr Docherty said.
The Metalcorp system works with cold metal, making it very cost-effective as there’s no heating involved (apart from that generated by unaccustomed muscles, Mr Docherty said).
Now that the members have filled all their domestic desires for metalwork – improving their skills as they went – items are being produced for sale, generally on a collaborative effort.
Mr Docherty said the range on offer at the gallery will be mostly garden art, due to popular demand. The 20 items on display will includes planter holders, hose reels, arbours and other practical items, along with wooden items from the woodworking contingent.
Mr Docherty hopes if the exhibition goes well the gallery will continue to stock items from the Men’s Shed, which has its own expansion plans.
Excavations start next week for the new shed to sit alongside the existing one, following receipt of a grant to help with construction costs. Mr Docherty hopes to have the shed up by the end of May, thanks to great support from local contractors.
He said in addition to the Metalwork kit the group already has a couple of good welders and the next item on the wish list is a plasma cutter, so members may have to get accustomed to exhibition opening nights.