Medium: Forged steel and powder coated aluminum
Location: North Viewing Shelter of Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, Hwy 219 at SW Wood Street, Hillsboro OR 97123
“Stewards Gateway” represents the doorway to restoration and stewardship. Cattails and wapato plants are a reminder of the time when the wetlands sustained Native Americans. Their graceful forms welcome visitors into an environment where plants and animals are coming back into balance. The flora and fauna depicted are found at the Jackson Bottom wetlands. A silhouette of a bald eagle refers to a nest in the distant view, and the red legged frog is a protected species found here. This handsome gate marks the entry into a remarkable nature preserve and significant restoration project.
Tim Gabriel grew up in Baker City, Oregon, where he began welding and forging in high school, continuing his craft
into community college. During his service in the U.S. Navy, he was a ship fitter and worked on an anvil in the Navy shop.
Later, while Gabriel worked as a millwright he became fast friends with an old-timer who shared his knowledge of blacksmithing, inspiring Gabriel to continue to hone his craft during his free time. After working professionally in a variety of highly skilled metal fabrication positions, Gabriel now practices blacksmithing fulltime. He continues to expand his capabilities and talents through organizational memberships, conferences and workshops.
Gabriel finds the self-sustaining aspect of blacksmithing appealing — the fact that he can make something from nothing by using the most basic elements of metal and fire. He makes many of his own tools, and designed and built his own workshop and forge. “Blacksmithing is the beginning of the food chain,” Gabriel said, explaining, “The blacksmith makes the tools for all of the other crafts.”
Photos by Rick Paulson. Check out more photos of Hillsboro's Public Art Collection in our Flickr Gallery.