The Jaques Metal Arts Exhibit is Isle resident Jason Beamish’s first exhibit at an art gallery, although his work is very visible around Mille Lacs Lake.
Beamish grew up in Loretto, Minn., and is a self-taught welder; his skills have grown and been refined over the years as he tried and succeeded in serving the needs of his clients. Beamish learned aluminum welding while working at a local fabrication shop. This skill enabled him to become a go-to person for repair and fabrication of vintage snowmobiles. Over the years, he has built and repaired almost anything you can imagine, including many very specialized jobs.
Beamish and his fianceé, Liz, have lived in Isle for 14 years. They have four children between them, three of whom are still at home. The welding business has been growing in a shop at the couple’s home, but this summer Beamish Metal Works will be moving to a dedicated location in or near Isle. Beamish does welding and fabrication full-time.
So how did Beamish Metal Works take a detour into the world of sculpture? Beamish was on hiatus from a welding job when a friend with a gift shop sent him a photo of a dog sculpture made from nuts and bolts, saying, “You could do this!” Since then he has experimented with all kinds of metal sculptures on many different scales. His work ranges in size from huge fish sculptures like the one at Johnson’s Portside on Mille Lacs to small replicas of chopper motorcycles requested by owners who want to memorialize their real motorcycles. Metal American flags are a popular item, as are custom signs for businesses. Welding and fabrication of utility items such as maple syrup evaporating pans are a big part of Beamish’s business.
Since moving to Isle, Beamish has seen his business evolve from cutting everything by hand to using a CNC plasma cutter he designed and built himself. That upgrade enables him to exactly duplicate items such as evaporating pans that are produced in quantity. Accuracy and repeatability are enhanced with the cutter, allowing the shop to supply much larger quantities of some bread-and-butter items to wholesale or retail outlets.
Beamish Metal Works has sold pieces through Someday Isle, and also at the Mille Lacs Market during the winter months. Beamish Metal Works can be found on Facebook, and they also have a website: www.beamishmetalworks.com.
The exhibit will run through June 22 at the Jacques Art Center, 121 2nd Street, Aitkin. The art center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.