I have known Fran for many years now and I love his approach to life which is is free-ranging and creative and yet marked by solid hard-work, excellence and integrity-filled, common-sense.
He is eminently skilled and practical and when I first knew him, he dazzled me with his skills in renovation and his consistently beautiful and inventive handiwork.
He went on to make his living from skydiving (see what I mean about him now!) and in more recent years, it has been a real joy and privilege to see his artistic pursuits develop in richer and fuller ways.
He is the only person I know who is able to make a gate out of metal — imagine such a thing!
Make things architectural and sculptural in steel and glass.
How do you fit it all in?
Sometimes with difficulty, although in the last year I have transitioned from part time to full time metalwork, which makes the time thing a little easier, but not always the cash flow!
A good day at the office:
Inspired with an idea when I wake up…breakfast, then head to the workshop to attempt to make what I envisioned.
The good part is usually some combination of my idea actually working out as I intended, or it not working at all, but the result being something either unexpected or even better that I had originally intended.
The serendipity I can now enjoy in this process has been somewhat hard learnt for me as I can be very perfectionist and incredibly critical of myself.
In fact it was the lovely Mrs. Stoney [Note from editor: that’s me!] who originally encouraged me to appreciate serendipity, and to celebrate that which just happens, without expectation or fear of failure.
Mostly, it’s a good day if I can release myself from my own expectations and just enjoy the process. Accepting that it’s OK to fail, as sometimes the most beautiful things come out of what we at first think is a failure.
Art nouveau, natural shapes and forms in general.
Antoni Gaudi in particular — I love the way he managed to combine natural forms and shapes, in so many different materials, with an expression of joy, playfulness and an edge of surrealism.
Best move so far?
Building my workshop last year, which literally gave me the space to create!
Wise words for a whipper-snapper version of you:
Just do it and stop worrying about it! Don’t worry about whether or not it’s going to work, just make beautiful things that you love, and don’t compromise on what’s most important to you!