Teaching an old dog new tricks

by Chantal

There have been a couple of pieces I’ve been working on lately where I have ended up frustrated by what I want to achieve and what is possible with my limited fabrication skills. For my Geode project (works inspired by the George Sand’s novel “Laura: A Journey Into The Crystal”) I’ve wanted to incorporate some simple metal work but haven’t had the skills to do so myself. I found a very talented metalwork designer who has done some great work in collaboration with artists and he constructed the metal tetrahedron frame I needed for my first “Laura” sculpture. Much as I would love him to create all the fabrications I need, it is by no means a cheap solution and I have found myself stuck again when needing to create a metal stand but not having the budget to pay for someone to do this for me.

When bemoaning this problem to a friend he suggested that I learn some basic welding and metal work skills myself as this would be a long term investment into my skill set as an artist. As my wise friend is rarely wrong about such matters I’ve gone for it and joined a 10 week introduction to MIG welding course and had my first lesson on Wednesday. It was out of my comfort zone and I definitely found the first two hour lesson a stretch but that was good. It feels really empowering to be learning a completely new skill. How great would it be if I did a different course each year that extended my capabilities as an artist?