Two tedious years, making weekly appointments with architects, carrying my portfolio, my purse, my slide carousel and a box of slides. I made presentations only to be given a 'Thank you," and "We'll call you." Discouragement was my middle name. 

Finally, the phone rang one day, and an architect invited me to make a presentation for a building renovation in Pasadena, California. Giddy with anticipation, I went to visit the architect, made my pitch and was told that he had a concept in mind. He showed me a gross drawing of criss-crossed pipes. Needless to say, depression set in quickly. But, it was a paying job, and I was determined to get into that world any way I could. 

I took his sketch home, went to the junkyard and collected ugly pipes. I laid them out on my studio floor, hating it all the time. I arranged the pipes over and over with no sense of joy. I hated the project. Dutifully, I presented the ugliest sketch I had ever made to the President and Vice President of Glendale Federal Savings and Loan Bank. 

Bank President Gordon A. Klett looked at my portfolio, then at my shameful drawing, and said, "Natalie, this doesn't look like anything in your portfolio. Please go home and create another design. Come back in two weeks with your new idea."

I went home elated, ignored the architect as I was living at the beach, I thought about sailboats, people and fish. That was the basis of my sketch that I presented at our next meeting. 

The drawing was accepted with great smiles. I was asked to write a contract, I don't think I had ever seen a contract, and in my inimitable style, I wrote my own contract, that I present for your viewing here:

 Serenity 1stContract

I mailed the contract, and forgot to duplicate it. So, I called Mr. Klett and asked him to mail me a duplicate of my contract. He said, "Natalie, this is the most unusual contract I have ever seen." Then he chuckled. 

As soon as the contract was honored, I began my work. 

Jim O'Neill, my welding teacher put the parts together structurally. Before I hung the piece, I went to the Glendale Pasadena Building Department and requested a building permit to hang my sculpture. They told me that it wasn't required. I said, I need a permit so you won't make me take it down or change your rules. I waited for two hours for the permit until they determined they could call my sculpture an appendage to the building. The fee was $2.50. The one rule was to hang the sculpture bottom eight feet above street level. 

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PaymentLetter GlendaleFederal2

 

After hanging the sculpture, I noticed I hadn't signed it. So, I returned with a ladder and tools and placed my signature on the bottom.

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I created many designs using this particular technique, where I combined stainless steel, copper, brass and aluminum and used a variety of textures. This became a signature style for me.