HGR Welcomes the Annual F*SHO
HGR Industrial Surplus hosted the ninth annual F*SHO on September 15th at its headquarters on Euclid Avenue. This free event gives members of the public the chance to meet skilled local furniture-makers, craftspeople, and artists, all while admiring the fruits of their labors. The F*SHO was organized by Jason and Amanda Radcliffe, the husband and wife team behind 44 Steel, who take the event to a different location every year.
The show had just five designers back in its inaugural incarnation in 2009. This year it boasted thirty-three. And more than 2,000 people came out to HGR to be a part of it. These curious members of the public had a chance to come face-to-face with some of the best contemporary designers Northeast Ohio has to offer, all while enjoying a party atmosphere courtesy of a live DJ, free food from Soho Chicken + Whiskey, and free beer from Noble Brewing Co.
The building that now houses HGR was originally built during the Second World War to produce aircraft parts for the war effort. Later it was purchased by Fisher Body to make car bodies for General Motors, but closed when GM halted production in 1993. It was given a new life in 1998 when HGR opened for business.
“HGR is doing a great job with this space. They brought this building back—revitalized it. This is great for the city,” Jonathan Holody, the Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Euclid told me as we stood near the crowds admiring the finely-crafted furniture on display. “A lot of the manufacturers in the area rely on HGR. It’s great to see this event attract people from all around the area to Euclid.”
As an attendee I spent a lot of time admiring everything at F*SHO—from tables made of zebra-striped concrete, to steampunk-looking lamps, to snowflakes made of glass. Thankfully, the designers, builders, and artists were more than happy to let the public get up close and personal with their wares. And they weren’t shy when it came to answering questions about their work and what inspired their creative minds.
Among the many notable items on display and for sale was a table that had once been a workbench. Dave Crider of Googie Style in Lakewood had taken that old symbol of industry and smoothed out the surface, leaving the hammer and chisel marks visible to maintain its unique character, afterwards filling in the deepest holes with eye-catching bits of turquoise. For years, it had been pounded and battered by hammers and chisels, but now it had a new life as a refurbished piece of furniture that you would be glad to show off in your tidy living room. Most significantly, that old workbench came from HGR. And for the night of the F*SHO, it was back at a place it had once called home.
HGR seemed like the perfect venue for the F*SHO. Its mission is so closely tied to what has enabled these craftspeople to make their designs a reality. HGR is dedicated to giving old machines and parts a new life. And these machines have been the source for much of the material that has been transformed by these designers into furniture that is altogether new. Like that workbench, HGR’s headquarters was a tangible expression of how putting care and labor into something old can transform it into something new that everyone can treasure. It made this year’s alliance of the F*SHO and HGR seem almost like destiny.
Ultimately, the biggest takeaway I had from this year’s F*SHO was this: You can make art out of anything. You just have to believe that you can do it and then put in the work. And, with the help of HGR, you can get your hands on all the right parts.