Perry of The Tiny Spoon is one of the few people soldiering into the ever-waning world of hand-crafting neon signs. His studio is based in North East Portland where he is surrounded by other craftsmen, builders, tinkerers, and brilliant, bright neon light.
Working with great focus on the glass tubes that he would gradually sculpt into a complex interstate of letters, he calmly yet swiftly moved from flame to flame, heating different parts of the tube in precise ways to achieve the bend that he drafted in his planning. He calculated, measured, and marked each length of glass using a pencil and ruler that's also the breather tube he uses to keep the glass from folding in on itself as he executes extreme bends.
As Perry explained to me, the total working time from flame to fixed is about five seconds, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time for error or indecision. His movements are exact and decisive, yet not without feeling and gentle attention to the smallest of details.
At a point I looked over and saw that Perry was using two tiny tea spoons that he'd clamped together to hold his fuser torch (pictured above). I asked if that's where the name "The Tiny Spoon" came from, but the real story is much more meaningful than that. The name stems from his thoughts on how small objects such as a pencil, brush, or spoon have the potential to unleash great reserves of creative energies, and that even the smallest details carry the greatest weights.