Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning a Discipline...

.....takes discipline. Every failure I have had in my life was because I quit. Every missed opportunity was an expectation that the doors would open easily and I could sail through.

I was fifty years old and had never seen a welder when I was given one, a thoughtful gift from a friend. The whole process I found fascinating from the beginning, mixing molecules from one piece of steel into the other. It is not like glue, not stuck together at all, but becomes one piece, some creation that you made. I fell in love with it. I have an obssesive nature to me when I really want to do something and knowing the reasons for my past failures, I was determined to succeed.

You can learn to weld in about five minutes but to get good at it takes practice and about 2,000 hours, that is about a year. You learn to make the little swirles, heating one piece and bringing it into the other, and you practice this to the point that a final grinding and polishing is not even necessary. And then there is the fabrication part requiring a welding table, jigs and guides and clamps. Finally there is design. There are a lot of ways to build the same thing and you learn that design is not just a pretty added on element, but like a truss, adds strength and integrity to the piece. I never read a book on welding but acquired a lot of them on design and its function in the metal arts.


Barbra Joan said...

Welding is an art... even if your making a fence. I know I've told you my Dad was a welder retired from his own business ..He did welding on bridges and boilers and ugly things..but necessary to keep them working an running ..
Saturday mornings I used to go with him to the "shop' and he taught me how to weld.. I remember how important I felt wearing that big helmet and how he always warned me about 'not looking at the light without eye protection'
Back then of course it was not something a girl could do as a career, so here I am 'a starving artist' Shoulda been a welder instead. LOL !

Maundering mutterer said...

Nice table! Your love for your materials (so nicely expressed) combines with your skill and creativity. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit scared of welders - all those sparks and the actinic light from it, but while it frightens just a bit, it also fascinates.

Constance said...

I think you have an amazing talent with metal Jerry, you create such beautiful art out of "lumps" of dead metal. I've known and worked with many welders, but you have that special magic which makes your work exceptional!