BEaSPARK.com is one of my community service projects. If you've read my story you'll know why I feel so lucky and HAVE to give back:
- 2012 - Present: Every year I create a sculpture to be auctioned at our local United Way fundraiser. To date I have raised $4,900 for United Way.
- 2013 - Present: Every year I donate sculptures for auctions to benefit our local homeless and battered women’s shelter. To date I have raised $1,440 for them.
- 2013 - Present: Over the past two years I have donated 7 sculptures to various fundraising events for organizations like The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Lake Champlain Trust, and Chamber of Commerce. These sculptures have raised over $3,800.
- 2012 – 2014: Annually, I create a sculpture for our local Make a Wish fundraising event. These three sculptures have raised $2,210 for the charity.
- Oct 2013: Our town hall needed a major monument to celebrate the towns 250th birthday. I created a very large piece that also acts at the town message board, valued at $8,500.
- June 2012: Our local Bent Northrop Memorial Library needed a bicycle rack. I designed and created a very unusual piece valued at $7,500.
I have been welding since the age of 12 and it seemed to come completely natural to me. In the summer of 2010, when I was in the 7th grade, my mother taught me to weld because she needed help tackling a very large piece that she had wanted to create for years: Together we welded a life -sized Stegosaurus sculpture in the yard of my parents‘ office.
My mother has been making large metal sculptures for 20 years and had the parts for this beast piled in the corner of our barn. She knew it was a job for two people and hoped that someday, one of her children would take up the torch. (Literally and figuratively) And THAT was me! In that first big challenge, she taught me the basics, I have been off and running.
In 2011, my family realized that I had a real passion and talent for design, and that this welding hobby was not a passing fancy. My mother had always done her welding projects in the garage, which was a difficult and messy business.
Welding came naturally to me as a medium for expression. I loved to look at a piece of metal with “fresh eyes“ and see something that no one else could see. It‘s sort of like blind sight: my conscious mind sees a piece of metal strapping or a car jack, but my unconscious mind screams “bird‘s nest!“ and “body of a raven!“. After I have my initial inspiration, my job is to elaborate on my vision with other pieces of metal, so my concept will be recognizable to others too!
So where do my materials come from? Some things are given to us when people have an odd chunk of metal that they think I might use. But most of the material that I use has been collected from 1995 to the present, during innumerable strolls through the “Junk Yards“ of northern Vermont. I pick up anything that has an interesting shape and some things that don‘t have immediate interest. If I don‘t have an obvious use for a unique metal piece or part, I simply store it in a catalogued way in our barn for future reference.
I primarily use MIG-welding to put together my pieces, although I have taken an advanced welding course and can use other types of welding. I have a conventional acetylene torch for bulk cutting, and a huge plasma cutter to do the job of refined cuts.
People always ask me how long it takes to create my pieces. I might have 5 to 10 hours in a medium-sized personal piece for a client, and 30 to 50 hours in a large public piece.
I hope to blend my art and interest in science over my high school years and my BEaSPARK work should get even more fun and interesting to others!