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Maintenance man has a steely talent

You can see his work at Grace House


by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI  - Grace House maintenance man Argie Prath shows off some of his metal creations.“Welcome to Grace House.”

That sentiment is thanks in part to Grace House’s multi-talented maintenance man, Argie Prath. He made the senior living community’s sign that says just that.

Prath has done maintenance for Grace House for three years, but he’s also an artist.

Prath and his four siblings grew up in Three Lynx.

Metal working seems to have been something of a tradition throughout the Prath family generations. Prath’s grandfather did machine work.

“My dad taught me to weld and grind and cut,” Prath said.

Prath watched one year as his older brother entered a metal sculpture in a “Student Convention” competition for home and church schooled children.

Inspired, he decided to try his hand at metal working.

He must have liked it. Ten years later, he’s still at it.

“It’s something fun…it helps me relax a little bit, it gets my mind working,” Prath said.

Prath’s metal sculptures transform items such as shovels, car jacks, timing gears and scrap metal into animal or animal-like creatures.

He makes about one a year.

“What I like about doing it is the challenge of getting details into it and giving it character, like having it free standing instead of resting on its tail. Or putting designs on it instead of just welding some metal together and calling it good,” Prath wrote.

Prath also is talented with a scroll saw.

Prath’s sculptures are on display at the Grace House, 380 N.W. Sixth Ave.

Anyone interested in purchasing a piece should contact Prath at 503-956-4480.




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