Hamman captures rual scenes on metal

June 30, 2016

A classic example of Jeff Hamman’s metal art is the Mighty Mac.

A classic example of Jeff Hamman’s metal art is the Mighty Mac.

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

There is artistry and skillset associated with designing and building efficient manure spreaders, dairy barn gates and fencing and welded farm implements. These elements make up a majority of work performed by Vogel Center Fabrication on West Stoney Corners Road. 

But its the rural scenes and other natural wonders that owner Jeff Hamman captures in metal that attracts buyers at craft shows around northern Lower Michigan.

“I come up with ideas just by noticing scenes around Missaukee County and the State of Michigan,” said Hamman, a machine fabricator by trade who transfers his skills to metal wall decor.

Pausing from highlighting towers of the Mackinac Bridge with color, Hamman admits his welding shop comes as a surprise to some buyers of woodland scenes. He laughs that it’s not a studio some may expect to find.

Hamman, wife Brenda, and sometimes daughter Dakota, a high school sophomore, loads up the trailer and his crafts shows on weekends. They go as far north as Mackinaw City and south to St. Johns, with stops in between. Brenda is adept at powder coating and Dakota who knows how to weld has been making beaded jewelry.

Originally from Coldwater, a product of a mother who dabbled in oil painting and a mechanically inclined father who ran the family-owned farm implement dealership, Hamman said he early on picked up skills from both parents. They passed away early in life and he was raised in a family in the McBain area.

He took up welding at the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center and opened the fabrication shop nearly 25 years ago.
His venture into metal art was at the coaxing of a couple who admired a Hamman name sign hanging from a yard post. They made bird houses and traveled to craft shows.

At first, Hamman said his first reaction was, “I’m a big tough welder, I’m not going to craft shows.”

The more he and Brenda thought about it, the more open he became and used McBain’s popular arts and crafts show that has more than a hundred vendors as an experiment.

“We sold out the deer, bear and moose scenes! And we didn’t have any nautical stuff left. We went to four or five more shows and have branched out to 17 shows we’ll do this summer.”

Just as his merchandise has proliferated, so too has the number of metal artists. Hamman decries the copycats he comes across, especially when they copy his ideas. It’s why he closed down his posts on eBay and why he posts signs at his vending tent banning photographs.

Even when he finds a pattern he fancies among computerized graphic arts, he always augments the scene to his liking. 
He also pulls ideas from an interest in Great Lakes freighters. A stunning metal art design is of the Edgar B. Speer cargo ship passing the DeTour Reef Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula.

“It’s what fabrication is all about,” Hamman says. “I can modify almost anything. There is no limit to what we do around here.”

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Jeff Hamman pauses in his welding shop on Stoney  Corners Road in Missaukee County

Jeff Hamman pauses in his welding shop on Stoney
Corners Road in Missaukee County

Jeff Hamman’s interest in Great Lakes freighters is a metal rendition of a cargo ship passing by the DeTour Reef Light.

Jeff Hamman’s interest in Great Lakes freighters is a metal rendition of a cargo ship passing by the DeTour Reef Light.

Nature scenes are popular metal wall art Jeff Hamman creates.

Nature scenes are popular metal wall art Jeff Hamman creates.





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