…when I was fifteen, I learned to weld and forge steel and copper sculptures. I discovered the joy of creating art with metal, and the satisfaction of creating something inherently beautiful. It wasn’t exactly what my guidance counselor had in mind, I think, but it made me very happy. I made sculptures of all shapes and kinds, and ended up with a welding degree just in case this art thing didn’t work out. I went off to college where I discovered that the people at art schools were more interested with the “meaning” behind the pieces I was making and less interested in the actual accumulation of skills and techniques. I left, went home, and dived into life. I got married, had my children, but still the lure of forging metals called to me.
When you wake up in the middle of the night with the most perfect idea for a new forged sculpture, you know you’re in trouble.
This time around, however, I couldn’t just set up my forge for a day of welding, I also had to teach my kids their letters, and make lunch, and do the laundry. You know- actually living life, instead of locking one’s self away in an academic workshop…. I decided that there weren’t enough hours in the day to create art, and raise my kids, and do all the other things I wanted to do, and so I would wait until the kids grew up and either went to school or moved out. Unfortunately, my designs weren’t leaving me alone. They kept knocking on my mind’s door, and distracting me while I waited in line at the grocery store. When I realized that my grocery lists were no longer readable because of all the design ideas drawn on them, and that I was waking up every night with frustratingly uncreatable design ideas, I gave in…. if only so I could get some sleep!
I decided that perhaps there wasn’t enough time in the day to forge sculpture with my big anvil and forge. But…..perhaps… there was enough time to forge lighter sculptural adornments. So I’ve carved out space in my garden bench for the soldering set up. I’ve filled a little rolling toolkit with all the handtools I might need, and I’ve stashed the pockets with bits of silver, and lots and lots of sheets of designs, and a very large notebook with a flashlight next to my bed.
My designs are in order now. They wait patiently until I have time to sketch them out, and my sleep is no longer disturbed with a design I don’t have time to create- only with those that absolutely can’t wait until morning. I now have enough design ideas to last me the next ten years, but I can foresee a long and happy future making pieces that I love.
I suppose that’s the long answer to how I got started, but my “start” did cover over 10 years….. and every day I wake up happy knowing that I am doing something I love.