In 2011, my family realized that I had a real passion and talent for design. My mother had always done her welding projects in the garage, which was a difficult and messy business. With my interest, it seemed to make sense to build a studio/metal shop in the backyard.
Welding came naturally to me as a medium for expression. I loved to look at a piece of metal with “fresh eyes” and see something that no one else could see. Then my job would be to elaborate on my vision so it would be obvious to others too!
From 1995 to the present, we have been visiting “Junk Yards” to collect pieces of metal for current projects or future sculptures. If I don’t have an immediate use for a unique metal piece or part, I simply store it in a catalogued way in our barn for future reference. I have over 10,000 pounds of metal squirreled away here and there on the farm, and I continue to collect.
I primarily use MIG-welding to put together my pieces, although I have taken an advanced welding course and can use other types of welding. I have a conventional acetylene torch for bulk cutting, and a huge plasma cutter to do the job of refined cuts.
People always ask me how long it takes to create my pieces. I might have 5 to 10 hours in a personal piece for a client, and 30 to 50 hours in a large public piece.
The materials for metal sculpture are more and more expensive as steel prices continue to increase. I will pay about $1 to $2 per pound for metal, and most of my “small” sculptures weigh 20 to 100 pounds. My large public pieces might contain 1000 pounds of metal or more!
This is not your everyday “arts and crafts” kind of projecting. I have caught myself on fire several times,.. Melted my cutting mask,.. And experienced countless minor burns throughout my welding experience. My best advice: “Do Not Try This At Home By Yourself!”