#WhyWeWeld, a campaign profiling welders from all backgrounds and walks of life. We are here to share their unique work and stories.
Kris is a welder, fabricator, and USAF veteran. She starting welding about three years ago and decided on it as a career during her time in welding school. “I taught myself how to use a small MIG in my garage. I quickly fell in love with it and enrolled in welding school.” Now, she creates stunning metal art and shares it on her Instagram @meltdownmetalart.
Kris started welding as a creative outlet but decided to make it her career-path too. “Everything about it just fits.” She told us that it was the work and the people that motivated her to pursue welding full-time. She’s passionate about welding and determined to be among the best. “It’s important to me because it’s something that I truly have a drive for. I don’t just want to be a good welder, I want to be outstanding.”
As a veteran of the United States Air Force, Kris found welding the ideal career. “I didn’t even think twice about it,” she told us, explaining that she gained confidence in the military, which helped her in a male-dominated industry. Kris has worked on difficult projects, including a 96” tall shelving unit, and a metal sign she made for a company.
“My biggest challenge has been my work with brass,” she told us, continuing to explain that there are more challenges to her work than the typical difficulties of these projects. Another challenge is burnout. “Burnout is tough. I recently had to face it.” Kris told us that to handle burnout, it is important to make your weekends count and to create projects for fun.
When it comes to young people welding, Kris emphasizes that it’s important to be teachable, saying “Use your ears not your mouth.” It shows that being an enthusiastic learner is worthwhile since Kris is now creating stunning work a few years after teaching herself to weld. Her favorite motto is also appropriate: “You create your own luck.”
Sarah Stork (@sarah_stork_) is an artist-welder living in Georgetown, Texas. Starting off as someone who wanted to weld a fence, she now creates extraordinary artwork.
Married with two children, Sarah says that she decided to start welding in 2012 when she chose her major at Austin Community College. “It seemed to be a legitimate choice as a useful skill and I wanted to help build a pipe fence around our property. Never was I afraid of hard work or the unknown.”
At the time, Sarah couldn’t predict that she’d end up becoming an artist. Over time, however, this changed: “During my structural welding instruction I was asked to compete in SkillsUSA sculpture competition even though I never made a sculpture before. It worked out well – got 2nd at Nationals and then in 2016 took the gold home. From that point on my focus has been for art."
Sarah tells us that she derives inspiration from natural shapes in the country. “I find that metal is easily formed into whatever you desire.“
“The biggest project has been my sea turtle for art. He is 38”x40”x30” and about 120 lbs. Definitely a work out moving it around to work on. Everything I work on is a challenge especially when I never made one before.” She continued,” I keep going because there is always something else I’d like to make.”
Sarah also offered her encouragement for young welders interested in art: “For those that want to take welding in an art direction, I’d say to just start sticking pieces together. It can always be changed if it doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes the most beautiful accidents are art.”
We are always here waiting for you and your welding stories.