March 7, 2012

Todd Barricklow

I moved away from home at a young age.  In my early years traveling, I befriended a group of art students at Sonoma State University (Northern California).  I was a fresh-faced kid learning how to live on my own, and they sort of welcomed me into their grown-up crowd.  I rented a room in a house and discovered metal work, welding, painting, making, breaking, and fixing.  I was the youngest of the group and happy to tag along to college parties and things like that.

I was lucky to know Todd Barricklow.  He was the first person I knew that could artfully destroy things and rebuild the pieces into new and useful (and often frightening) creations.  He was a ceramics major but also a welder.  He had an admirable work ethic and he was hilarious.

Years later, we fell out of touch.

At some point, while just learning about cargo bikes in Oregon, I submitted pictures of a bike I'd built to a German bike website.  A few days later, I looked at the site to find a recent picture of Todd who'd built a similar bike.  I was stunned to see Todd had also been making cargo bikes and had submitted his pictures to the same site.  The website owner published our pictures on the same day. It was a funny way to learn of an old friend's new whereabouts and work.  Strange coincidence.

A few months ago, my wife and I traveled to visit Todd and his wife and kids.  It had been almost twenty years since we'd talked.  It was a swell reunion.

Todd is still very prolific, making incredible machines and ceramic sculpture.  He's a contributor to many cool things, including this year's Maker Faire, happening in the Bay Area in May.

Here's a video of Todd preparing his pedal-powered Figure 8 Race car, which he'll debut in a race at the Maker Faire.

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