I learned to weld at Utah State University in a class taught by sculptor Larry Elsner. Years later when I lived in Cincinnati I had additional welding instructions from sculptor, Tim Werrell. Tim showed me how to create a 3-dimensional sculptures using steel or bronze sheet metal. Tim is a very strong man and is able to bend the metal to his will and make beautiful organic shaped sculptures.
For a while, I struggled trying to create organic shapes out of sheet metal but found that using flat planes and angles was easier for me (required less strength) and I enjoyed seeing how the light played off them. Eventually I experimented with textures and juxtaposed them against smooth flat surfaces.
I have often been asked, “Why don’t you just sculpt in clay?” I have worked in clay but I love excitement of the welding process: the noise, smell, flashes of light and sparks, as well as the strength and luster of metal. Working with the sheet metal and steel rods makes me think in ways that are different than working in a soft medium.
When beginning a sculpture I may have a definite idea of what I want to make, or it may just be a vague feeling. The beginning stage or “rough sketch” is the most exciting. It is like magic to see the idea take form and have energy and a personality.
Fitting all the pieces together so the planes meet and “make sense” requires trial and error and persistence. Every sculpture is a challenge and that makes it fun.