Heavy metal art

Larry McCaffrey turns sheet metal into sinuous curves and graceful lines that appeal to the eye and hand.

Larry McCaffrey turns sheet metal into sinuous curves and graceful lines that appeal to the eye and hand.

He’s been creating art for four years.

McCaffrey spent 35 years working with industrial sheet metal, creating parts according to someone else’s plans and diagrams.

Now he works only on his own designs, which constantly are growing and changing.

"I don’t like to get stuck in a rut," he says.

McCaffrey made some tables, lamps and shelf brackets when he and his wife moved into their Sequim home seven years ago after living on a boat for 13 years.

That got him started

making sculptures.

What and how

His art forms range in size from small enough to sit on a shelf to 5-foot-tall garden art. Some are the silvery color of stainless steel with texture added by a grinder while others are bright red.

The red is a paint applied in powder form. The powder is electrically charged and the metal grounded so the powder stays in place as the piece is baked in a large oven at an auto body shop.

McCaffrey gets the metal in 4- by 8-foot sheets. Before he cuts it, he makes a form from poster board and decides how it will go together.

Once the piece is pleasing, he uses the poster board pieces as templates to cut the metal with a plasma cutter. This produces minimal heat, and

the metal does not warp or change shape.

Straight is boring

Then he runs the pieces through a large roller to form the graceful curves McCaffrey prefers.

"I don’t like straight lines," he says. "They’re boring."

He joins the pieces with a welder that puts out a shield of argon gas. That keeps oxygen away from the weld so it won’t burn.

Where to see it

McCaffrey’s art is featured at Strait Art from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the PUB Gallery of Art in the Peninsula College Pirate Union Building, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., both in Port Angeles.

Strait Art is an annual series dedicated to artists along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In this 20th year of the series, 47 painters, sculptors, photographers, printmakers and mixed-media artists submitted works. Twenty-nine had their work accepted for the show.

This marks the first year the exhibit has been at the college as well as PAFAC, which allows most of the artists to have four pieces in the show instead of two. While space limitations restricted some art, most pieces were chosen to display a wide range of media.

The show runs through May 9.

For more information, contact 457-3532 or pafac.org.

Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequim