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In Jackson, Creative Manufacturing Takes Butterfly Form

Downtown selfie station showcases creative manufacturing talent
Posted at 8:56 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 20:56:08-04
  • Video shows fabricating facility and products, including Downtown Jackson's newest art installation: a Monarch butterfly selfie station.
  • Creator Jeff Drushal started fabricating when he was a teen.
  • Practice, persistence, and guidance from the Jackson Area Career Center got him on his way.
  • He now owns a company, Drushal Fabricating, which made the butterfly.
  • The goal is to create a line of them all along the Monarch's migratory path to Mexico.

Manufacturing and Jackson — synonymous for more than a century. But what does this new selfie sculpture in Downtown Jackson tell us about ourselves and our future?
To this day, in Jackson…we make things.

As art and design become ever more important elements of the value chain, a new generation of creative makers is cutting a path to the future of local manufacturing.

"I was like 16 and I went to Meijer and bought a welder, figuring I'd just grab/buy a welder and start welding stuff," recalls Jeff Drushal, who has been a fabricator since his teenage years...through ups and downs. "It was a huge shock that it wasn't that easy."

But practice, persistence, and some guidance from the Jackson Area Career Center set him on his path.

As for artistry, he says:

"Art's always been a huge part of my business."

Since 2016, that business is Drushal Fabricating. The company crafts metal into all kinds of things — from bus and fire engine training simulators to food truck equipment, railings, decorations…and, of course…art.

"I feel a lot of people in the skilled trades are artists naturally," observes Drushal. "A lot of us have to take, you know, drawings and conceptions and turn them into something real life."

The latest creation is here: the Jackson Monarch at Emma Nichols Garden — just East of City Hall.

It's not just a whimsical selfie sculpture.

"This is an art piece, but it was actually manufactured, as well," notes Drushal.

And, like the many Jackson companies making parts for bigger things, the Jackson Monarch, too, is only the start.

"We're trying to place one of these Monarch selfie wing stands from here all the way to Mexico. We want to try to follow the migration of the Monarch butterfly where they start up North, and here in Jackson — this is the start."

As with the Monarch, so, too, with the future of creative manufacturing in Jackson: "This is the start".

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