Now that Bark Frameworks is employee owned, we wanted to reintroduce ourselves, one staff member at a time. In our first Spotlight interview of 2019, Marketing Manager Jennifer Clark sits down with Bark Frameworks welder Keara Martin.
Employee owner name: Keara Martin
Department/Job at Bark Frameworks: Welder in our Metal Shop
How long have you worked at Bark?: A little over two years.
Hails from: Long Island, NY.
What did you do before you worked at Bark Frameworks?
I was hired onto Bark Frameworks about 5 months after graduating SUNY Purchase with a BFA in sculpture. In the interim, I worked as an assistant for one of my professors, Nancy Bowen, at her studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At this time, I also had a freelance gig making props for a magician — thanks, Craigslist!
What is the biggest challenge in your area of work at Bark?
It is a very physical job. I always used my body a lot when I was making sculpture more regularly, but that didn’t really prepare me for some of the ways I exert myself making picture frames. Repetition is the most challenging factor. It’s much more about technique than muscle, and I had to learn how to pace myself properly to avoid injury.
Certain frame profiles take a lot of elbow grease to accomplish the level of detail they demand, so it is important to develop physically sustainable procedures. Polished frames, for instance, are essentially made by sanding metal thoroughly with increasingly fine grits, and then buffing out all evidence of that sanding until the surface is reflective and blemish-free. Making a single, crisp frame is one thing, but we often have to make a matching set, or we have to match an existing frame that a client may have ordered long before my time here at Bark. When that happens, the difficulty isn’t just coming up with a solution that is right for that one order. There are a lot of ways to reach the same outcome in a metal shop. The challenge is in predicting the most productive process that appeals to my stamina and the benefit of future jobs in all shapes, sizes, and quantities.