In the past year, Isaac Haskins has come to know what it's like to run his own business.
Fresh out of welding school at Aims Community College in Greeley, Haskins admits certain times have been slow for Haskins Welding and Iron Works. But with the slow times came an opportunity Haskins had been seeking. Although he's primarily been working on dump trucks and smaller jobs, his ultimate goal has been to make art, sculptures and custom railings with his trade.
So when times got slow, Haskins got to work on his first piece of art - a 12-foot willow tree made of wire, chain and horseshoes called "Rusty Willow," which he'll debut today at the 94th annual Routt County Fair's Home Arts Show in Hayden.
"A lot of guys that weld work on pipelines and oil rigs (and) make good money," said Haskins, a 2006 graduate of Hayden High School. "I want to do hand railings and art work. It's welding people can see."
So Haskins, who originally wanted to make an eagle out of chain, started putting something together in June.
At first he wasn't sure what it was, but then it started to take shape. The horseshoes started making the trunk and branches of the tree. Then the wire made the willows and, slowly, the piece came together.
Haskins, 20, estimates he's put more than 100 hours of work into the sculpture. He had help from friends and family, but he did most of the work himself.
The sculpture has become a local attraction, with Haskins doing the work at his house in Hayden. He said it's not uncommon for more than a dozen people to stop by each day and take pictures of his work.
After a three-week stretch when he couldn't find any more horseshoes - the finished statue includes nearly 1,000 - Haskins said he put the finishing touches on the statue late Tuesday evening.
"I did a lot better than I thought I would," said Haskins, who has been welding for the past eight years.
Despite all the work, Haskins said the hardest part was getting the sculpture from his house to the Routt County Fairgrounds. He estimates the piece weighs between 700 and 800 pounds.
Still, he's glad he did it and hopes the piece is just the first of many.
"It's my first piece," he said. "I'm really hoping someone looks at it and offers me some money for it."
The fair continues through Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.
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