During my freshmen year of college I took a welding class, and discovered how much I love making sculptures. I had entered college thinking I was going to be majoring in painting until I took this class. The class was called “Women’s Design and Fabrication” and catered towards providing a safe space to introduce women to welding. I remember how scared I was to be in the shop, feeling like I was going to hurt myself. It’s really intense, being surrounded by sparks and fire. I quickly became very comfortable in this shop, and got weld holes in most of my pants. I often left the shop with my face covered in sooty hand prints and smelling like metal. Below (in order) are some of the projects I made for this class.
This assignment was to make a container with a part of it that swiveled. I put a sheet of steel through a roller to shape the base, and used a plasma cutter to cut the lid of the container. I then used a peg to make the top swivel.
The second assignment was to make something that was valentine’s day themed, as a gift for yourself or a loved one. I used a hand held torch and tongs to bend and shape the petals. I gave this to my mom, who put a thick candle at the center of the flower.
I did this for another class called “In Search Of Character”. We had to make something that was a wearable object, and while uncomfortable, this is a belt that fits around my waist. I wrapped pieces of brown paper bag around the metal until it was sturdy, and painted the monarch butterfly with acrylic paints.
For my final I had the idea to make a spider, and spent a lot of time thinking about how many people are scared of them. I modeled it off of pictures of daddy long legs, and used a forge to point the feet and fangs. The body is made from steel rods that I had bent, and then filled in the gaps with a welder. I attached the pieces leading up to the feet, then spent a day blacksmithing to shape the feet. I remember walking across campus carrying all of these very sharp pieces of metal, and storing them under my desk in my dorm until I could work on them. During this project I discovered how much I enjoy process in art, having eight legs to work off of. I also pissed off most of the class because I was done at least a week or two before them.
What I did not know at the time was that my spider was put into the All School Show when I was at home visiting my mom. My number was given to an older woman without my permission, and she called me wanting to buy the spider. She said how she has two black cats and no one would mess with her if she had a black spider. The only catch was that she offered to buy it for thirty bucks, and to have me pay to ship it to her from MA to Washington DC. I declined, and he now lives upstate NY at my dad’s house, in its natural environment: crawling through the grass on top of a hill.
During my sophomore year I wrote a proposal for an Independent Study. It got approved and I spent the semester making sculptural candle holders out of sheet metal and steel rods. I was also one of the TAs for the welding class, and was able to get suggestions from my teacher. My favorite part of my old college is the welding studio. It was a really cozy relaxed environment, filled with creative people and really nice monitors. I was allowed to use the shop whenever I liked, since I had been in a class.