A Stanly craftsman recently expanded his capabilities to an international art project that will be on display in the nation’s capital.
Travis Furr, owner of Uwharrie Welding on Concord Road in Albemarle, gave up his normal job to take on an art commission.
Mia Florentine Weiss, a German artist, was looking for a welder on the east coast who could help her with her new project, Love Hate. Weiss produced several works of art using what is called an ambigram. It is a calligraphy design where one or two words that are visually symmetrical can be seen right side up or upside down, or turn into another word.
With Weiss’ Love Hate project, the words “love” and “hate” are placed next to each other and look the same in all cases. On its website, the project’s mission “centers on going beyond borders with art”.
Originally slated for 2021, the Love Hate project was postponed for a year, allowing it to connect with Furr through Facebook.
Weiss was looking to bring the project to Washington, DC, in connection with the German Embassy and The Nantucket Project, which is a wing of the South by Southwest Film and Art Festival in Austin, Texas. The keynote speaker for the event was to be former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“They were going to ship some of the ones they had already built, but for several reasons they decided to build one here,” Furr said.
Furr’s business is primarily welding and metal fabrication, such as repairing old rusty farm equipment, as well as working in the off-road community like bumpers and suspensions for Jeeps.
He said he made a few small pieces for the gardens, but the huge art sculptures were not something he did before the Love Hate project.
The Love Hate sculpture is significantly taller than a garden light. Taking nearly three weeks to complete, the sculpture is made up of two pieces eight feet high by 16 feet wide. He weighs around 5,000 pounds, Furr said.
After receiving photos of what Weiss wanted, Furr cut each letter individually, out of steel, using a plasma table.