I have been into custom cars and hot rods since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Most of my early years I was too busy earning a living and raising a family to do what I really wanted. After the short people grew tall, and moved out, I was able to begin buying the tools I had wanted for a couple decades.
In 2004, I stumbled onto the MetalMeet.com site on the internet, and bought a plane ticket to go to the international meet in Robinson Illinois. Once there, I met a lot of folks from all walks of life that were interested in metalshaping. I also met Wray Schelin at that meet.
I ended up going back the next year, and I won a class sponsored by Wray at his shop in Massachusetts. After attending the class, I was really stoked, and went back for another class the next year. Since that time, I have been learning from others on the internet, as well as attending many smaller metal meet gatherings. Three years in a row, I sponsored regional metal meets here in Lethbridge, where we had a lot of interested people show up for a three day weekend to learn from each other and teach others what we knew. That is what Metalmeet.com is all about.
In the old days, most metalshapers would not teach anyone what they knew as it might jeopardize their way of earning a living. It was almost a dying art till people on the internet such as Wray Schelin, who founded Metalmeet.com with a group of friends helped bring this art back to life.
There was a class in Seattle, in October of 2013, that I decided to attend with seven other enthusiasts. The course was put on by Peter Tommassini from Australia, who is a world renowned master of metal shaping and coach building. One of the attendees was Renato Muskovic, who is a master metal shaper in his own right. The others and I learned a lot in five days rubbing shoulders with some of the industry's finest artisans.
I have attended the Madera Metalmeet in Santa Cruz CA, and enjoyed the time there with Ron Covell and Lazze Janssen, who were there to share their knowledge and expertise with the attendees.
The art of metalshaping gives me a feeling of great joy, to be able to make something from a flat piece of metal that can be admired by other enthusiasts. I look forward to helping others learn this craft as well. I hope to teach my grandchildren this art, and I hope to get them interested in the automobile hobby. We'll see about that one in time, I guess.