JEFFERSONVILLE — At the corner of Heuser Hardware on Spring Street, north of Court Avenue in Jeffersonville, stands a new champion of the business and the generations of Hoosiers who have passed through its doors.
'Hardware Warrior' is a metal sculpture forged by tools collected from community members. It was commissioned by Heuser owners Bill and Tom Densford and is the latest public creation in Southern Indiana by local artist Michael Wimmer, who's also responsible for the red running men near 10th and Mechanic streets.
The idea for the hardware sculpture first came to light about three months ago, at the same time an installment featuring the business was being started in a public art piece, Jeffersonville flood wall. Wimmer and the Densford brothers tossed around ideas; they wanted something using hardware that represented the store.
“I didn't know what it was going to turn out to be,” Wimmer said. “I had an idea in my head, but it just kind of evolved.”
With his studio just behind the business, it was easy for regular collaboration with the owners on the piece as it was coming to life.
“I'd bring Bill over every three or four days and say 'this is where we are with it; what do you think,'” Wimmer recalled.
Bill Densford said the idea made perfect sense and will fit right in. The business is situated in the Jeffersonville arts district, where there's much more art expected to take shape over the next few years.
“We want to support [art] and we think it turned out really well,” he said.
Some of the parts that make up Hardware Warrior were items Wimmer already had, like the wheel off an old baggage cart fashioned into the sculpture's head. But the bulk came from others — people in the community, and the Densfords themselves, contributing old tools that had been in families for decades.
“The coolest part was having the public bring stuff in,” Bill said. “The shears on the side, that was our aunt's. She was a wallpaper hanger. The porch swing springs, that was my father-in-law's, that came off his father's house. That hammer was somebody's grandfather's.”
Tom said there have already been a lot of people, customers along with passers-by, stopping to take notice since Hardware Warrior was installed late last week. He said it's a neat feeling to be helping a customer out to their car with purchases and see people considering the piece.
“You can come back a second and third time and see more you didn't see the first time,” he said. The brothers said they were happy to showcase the art created by Wimmer with the help of the community.
“Really, it all means a lot,” Tom said. “It just makes you feel good that people brought things in and thought enough to do that.”