One of my recent projects was a departure from my usual commissions. I typically create architectural features or other functional art. I guess this one could fall in the “functional art” category…I made a commercial sign for a local trucking company. I wouldn’t imagine that there are many trucking companies interested in a custom-made sign. But there’s at least one that is, and fortunately for me, it is headquartered right here in Natchez, Mississippi. So I was pleasantly surprised, and gently corrected for assuming that aesthetics and craftsmanship would not be priorities for a business with such a practical purpose. And I’m so glad that I was wrong. The sign looks great, and the company is really happy with it.
The background of the sign is reclaimed cypress. I joined several pieces of lumber together to create a very large, flat surface. I then trimmed it down to an oval shape, six feet by twelve feet, and coated the sign with an all-natural tung oil and linseed oil blend for a high gloss finish. I prefer using this over polyurethane because it holds up much better to the elements. The letters were fashioned from ¼” thick copper. The pieces that comprise the border are made of steel. The letters and border pieces were hand-hammered before I fixed them to the cypress background. I made rivets by hand to coordinate with the style of the sign, and used these to attach the steel pieces to the wood. I used a patina to weather the steel… “old and worn” usually trumps “new and shiny” with me. The letters stand off of the background by a few inches, and I incorporated LED lighting behind them to create a back-lit effect, making the sign visible at night.
The company actually commissioned two signs…one for the front of their building, and a much smaller one for the side entrance. This company is really proud of their business. It is family owned and operated, treats its employees remarkably well, and prides itself on its ethical standards and quality service. It needed a beautiful, substantial, solid sign to represent itself to the world. I think we achieved that. And they won’t need a new sign for a long, long time.