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Tin Art Ranch in the City

the view from there

We've all heard the myth about the ranch in downtown Dallas, but now it really exists. Nobody but me calls it the Tin Art Ranch, but that's it at the bottom left of the picture above, in bright pink neon, just this side of the I-30 canyon from downtown.

I didn't see any cows, of course, but there was a lot of three-dimensional art around the ranch — and darned little 2-D.


my annual photograph of Jim Bowman turning glass

It wouldn't seem like the holidays without photographing Jim Bowman (above in red shirt and smoke)'s annual glass blow demonstration in his and wife Mary Lynn's studio, now at the Tin Art Ranch on East Griffin. I remember much the same action from the basement of the old Hickory Street building and one much longer ago in a hot house in Oak Cliff.

I've long been a fan of fire. I set the general's back yard on fire when I was a young teen, loved Nam for its rain of fires, evil as they were, they were exciting... Watchin a master using flame to further his art is still pretty fabulous.

Another photo tradition is trying to capture the Bowman's Christmas ornament tree. The setting sun glaring in helped. I never even saw the woman, for all the glorious translucing light.


And here's a detail of a very flame-like assemblage of warm color glass tubes twisted into a wavy, ladder like frame strongly resembling a flickering flame — pretty appropriate for a hot glass studio.

First I saw it, I didn't much care, but I kept looking back, and it grew on me. I dared not ask the price. It must be five or six feet tall.

The Bowmans used to live down the street from my house, and it was always interesting to walk by, since they'd decorate their flower beds with glass art. I remember some early precursors to the sculpted glass 'house' on the work table above.


The Bowmans was the first studio we encountered — last year — at the Tin Art Ranch, but more artists have moved in since. The owner is building an apartment into Ceramist James Watral's studio in the middle of the big tin building. This is one of his multi-storied geometic pots, which I thought went well with the design on the wall.

Sculptor Rick Maxwell has a 10-year lease on his space on the far end. I liked the way his chainsaws juxtaposed with what they'd wrought below them, like they'd grown right there, up out of the floor.

If these pictures stir your soul like they do mine, you'll like last year's visit to the bare beginnings of the Tin Art Ranch, back when nobody called it that.


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