Rooster from the Flower Man.
Rooster from the Flower Man.

Rooster and Plumbers's Peace Pipe

Austin, Texas

Cleveland Turner, Houston's Flower Man, was excited when we suggested we'd be special envoys to transport a choice piece of junk to a like-minded folk artist. He scanned his cluttered fence, and selected a painted aluminum rooster. Cleveland thought someone else could create a suitable home for it, since it had originally been salvaged from the trash bins of an affluent neighborhood.

In San Antonio the next day, we asked Barney Smith, Toilet Seat artist and owner of the Toilet Seat Museum, if he had anything to contribute. You could practically see the light bulb wink on above his head as he pivoted and dashed for the back of the garage. There Barney conjured up a discarded length of plumbing fixture -- The Plumber's Peace Pipe.He hoped someone else would make good use of it.

At dawn on the third day, we were ready to see Vince Hanneman, the guy who built the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX. He sat down in his Throne, and we presented each gift with moderate fanfare, providing a detailed history, proof of authenticity, and a personal message from each of the other artists.

Plumber's Peace Pipe.
Plumber's Peace Pipe from Barney Smith.

Vince was clearly touched, but he didn't immediately jump up and find wall space for the gifts. He seemed to decide that the rooster was "too good" to leave outside, and spent several minutes scrutinizing the rusted Peace Pipe (composed of the Three Materials of the Modern Plumber-- plastic, copper and iron) before setting it down next to the throne. It may be there still....

Our fears the chain of inspiration might break were allayed when Vince suddenly pulled a gift for us out of one of the walls of the throne room: a half-broken ceramic fake-pewter plate with two medieval money-changers engraved into it.

Vince Hanneman holds the Pipe of Peace.
Vince ponders the Pipe of Peace.

We planned to give it to a Kansas "yardist" three days later, but someone stepped on it on the floor of the minivan.

Also see: Cathedral of Junk

Cathedral of Junk

Address:
4422 Lareina Dr., Austin, TX
Directions:
On the south side of town. US 81/290 to the Hwy 71 (Ben White Blvd E.) exit. Hwy 71 west to the Congress Ave. exit. Head south a couple of blocks, turn right on St. Elmo Rd W., then take the second left onto Lareina.
Hours:
Private home. By appt. (Call to verify)
Phone:
512-299-7413
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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September 18, 2014

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