Ed McCormack designs artwork for his community
EVERY CRAFTSMAN IS an artist. In retirement, Ed McCormack, Local 592 (Tulsa, Oklahoma), has turned his welding art to crafting metal sculpture and furniture. Over the years, his artwork has ranged from an extraordinary public bench to bells of all sizes.
His most recent bell is enormous. It hangs on property east of his hometown of Okmulgee, Oklahoma. McCormack, also a member of the Salt Fork Blacksmith Association, welded about 180 pounds of 5/16-inch iron rod in a circular pattern to shape the 30-inch diameter body of the bell. It took 30 hours to craft. “I couldn’t do it all in one setting,” he said.
While he may be most known for his bells, one of McCormack’s most cherished creations is a bench that sits on the east side of the Okmulgee County Courthouse. To create the bench, he welded together antique brass pipe wrenches and claw hammers, among other tools, and odds and ends. The bench has a brass plaque inscribed with “Made in the USA by Ed McCormack for the citizens of Okmulgee County.”
If the county decides to move the bench, he has an agreement that it will be returned to him or his family. “I feel good about doing this,” he said. “I hope this bench is here forever.”
McCormack enjoys spending hours in his shop working under a sign he created emblazoned with his motto: “Somebody’s got to do it.” And for him, that “it” is a contribution to the community — and to his legacy.
--adapted from an article originally written by Patrick Ford, editor of the Okmulgee Oklahoma Times Newspaper