For more than 50 years, working metal into imagined shapes has been my fascination. All the sounds, the sparks, the flames, and the smells of metalworking were my inspiration to get started. Watching the molten puddle while I form a new weld is a hypnotic experience for me. A flame or arc around five or ten thousand degrees can’t help but grab your attention.
Working with stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum has given me an appreciation for their characteristics – some similar and some totally unique.
Some of the shapes I create now are inspired by the various things I dreamed up when I was a youngster. I spent endless hours doodling with pencils and pens. I made shapes in the dirt in my back yard, or in the sand at the beach. Sometimes I would even carve shapes in watermelon, or in chunks of cheese, then draw them with paper and pencil before happily devouring them. Later on in school, I took drafting and drawing classes where I learned formal techniques in visualizing and drawing shapes. Most of my work today originates from imagined shapes I have created in my mind and in my sketchbook.
All my work is TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welded because of its quality and strength – it’s the best. Many artists teach themselves how to weld; I learned by taking many classes in high school and college. I’ve also worked as a welder and metal fabricator for many years. All these experiences have heightened my ability to shape and weld the forms I imagine.
Viewing a finished piece is always a revelation. The sanding process blends all the surfaces and edges together so that the shape looks like it has been carved from a single, solid metallic chunk. Walking around the new sculpture and checking out all the different views is an exciting experience. When asked which of my works is my favorite, I always answer the same way: “The one I’m working on right now.”
More than 30 years of teaching metalworking techniques and skills to high school students have given me a lot of inspiration to create new sculptures. So many shapes, and so little time to build them: I can’t wait to get started on my next project.