My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rosie the riveter…

A couple of my machines date back to World War II and it’s possible that in those days they were operated by women.  On both sides of the Atlantic, women took the place of men in engineering workshops.  Many of them enjoyed the work so much that they were still on the job when I served my apprenticeship in the 1960’s.  Their contribution to the war effort came to mind today when I was sharpening milling cutters, one of the many jobs that benefited from a woman’s delicate touch. 

Welding was another, and back in the 1980’s one of the best welders in the Caribbean was a pretty Guyanese girl.  With a welding torch she had the touch of an angel and I’m sure she’d agree with the sentiments expressed by one of the WW2 women welders:

I loved the look of welding, the smell of it.  You moved the welding rod in tiny, circular motions, making half-crescents.  If you did it right, it was beautiful.  It was like embroidery. 

At the war’s height, women, many of them African-American, made up more than a quarter of the Richmond, US shipyards’ 90,000 workers.  Norman Rockwell captured their image for all time with Rosie the Riveter.   Here’s Rosie and my nine-year-old son Tristan serving his time on my fifty-year-old tool and cutter grinder.

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