As The Factory becomes more and more a destination for shopping, eating, and entertainment, there is one thing that has remained constant on the property since 2007.
“Rusty”, The Factory man, stands at the side entrance next to Honest Coffee Roasters. Standing at 20 feet tall, he is a symbol of what took place every day at The Factory.
Factory workers reported for duty daily at the complex where today you can purchase a latte and a donut. The previous owner of The Factory, Calvin Lehew commissioned Franklin resident and artisan Kris Nethercutt to design “Rusty” from remaining scrap metal parts found on the property. Lehew gave Nethercutt artistic freedom to design and build a Factory man how he saw fit. Taking Nethercutt six years to complete the project, we asked how he chose to make Rusty the Factory Man twenty feet tall.
“When Calvin Lehew commissioned me to build a factory man all he knew was that he wanted a giant size factory man. So I asked him how large do you want him? Calvin said about 15 feet tall. I built Rusty from his feet up, but I decided if an average man is six feet tall, I would take that and multiply it by three. My knees are 20 inches from the ground and Rusty’s are 60 inches from the ground. But I learned that objects further from the ground need to be larger to be in scale so from the waist up, Rusty is 3 1/2 times to scale and Rusty’s head is about 4 times the scale. ”
Nethercutt created “Rusty” at his workshop located outside of his home in Franklin and told us 80% of the factory man was created with 80% of recycled parts found on-site at The Factory while the rest were pieces that Nethercutt gathered.
Nethercutt spent six years creating Rusty, working on it when he had free time, and it took 2-3,000 hours to complete.
If you look closely at Rusty, you will see some interesting details like a “wrenched ankle”, a “water tank” for his bladder, his belt buckle is made from an ashtray once manufactured at The Factory, and his watch is a time clock. Also, if you turn the thumb on Rusty’s left hand, his head will turn.
“It was just one of those thoughts that popped into my head one day. I’ve never heard of a statue that size that had moving parts,” said Nethercutt.
Nethercutt, who refers to himself as Metal Morphosist, constructed Rusty all in one piece with the only removable part being the head. When they moved Rusty from his home to The Factory, Nethercutt made a steel crate around the bottom half to protect it and removed the head. A crane was used to place the 4,600-pound sculpture on a flatbed truck and to put it in place at The Factory where it current resides. It’s the biggest project that Nethercutt has completed to date.
If you visit The Factory, you will also see the plaque Nethercutt created, which sits at the foot of Rusty. The plaque reads:
“Rusty will continue to survive in a changing world because he learned to adapt but he wants his origins to be remembered and celebrated, after all his mother was invention. His new mission in life is to embrace the past by standing tall, reminding everyone that anything ‘American Made’ is an investment in our future and that everything can be reused or recycled.”
As his focus has been on custom curtain rods and small commissioned metal pieces, Nethercutt has never considered himself an artist. He is the owner of KAL Metal Products and can be reached at 615-790-4929 for further information regarding metal sculptures and custom curtain rods.
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