Three women who weld, all artists

Everybody knows that women welders were major contributors to the World War II manufacturing effort. But that seems so long ago.

And most of them gave up their work so returning soldiers could have a job.

In the 21st century, women are being sought as welding trainees because there’s a lack of skilled workers and because welding skills can produce good earnings and a lifetime career.

Female artists, however, never stopped welding,

To acknowledge National Welding Month, here are three.

Gertude Barnstone 

Sculptor Gertrude Barnstone sitting in front of  Gallery in 2008.

Sculptor Gertrude Barnstone at the 2008 installation of Galaxy, constructed of slumped glass, metal rod and LED rope, at a residence in League City, Texas.
Photo: Fatima Donaldson

Gertrude Barnstone welded gate. Gertrude Barnstone side table of welded rod and glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

whitespacerBarnstone is known for her wildly colored and asymmetrical sculptural side tables and fantastical gates. (Left photo: LynnGoodeVintage.com. Right photo: Chris C _eco_, Flickr.)

Gertrude Barnstone graphic with image and quote.

More on Gertrude Barnstone

Guide to the Gertrude Barnstone papers, 1956 – 2010 MS 587
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ricewrc/00719/rice-00719.html

Gertrude Barnstone on GALAXY artwork
http://vimeo.com/37678584

Galaxy installation photographs by Fatima Donaldson
http://www.fatimaphotography.com/p983283698

Gertrude Lisette Levy Barnstone  (1925 – )
http://www.askart.com/askart/b/gertrude_barnstone/gertrude_barnstone.aspx

 

Michelle O’Michael 

Sculptor Michelle O’Michael using a grinder on a work in progress in her Houston studio in a building that was once a foundry.

Sculptor Michelle O’Michael using a grinder on a work in progress in her Houston studio in a building that was once a foundry.
Photo: Joy Mullett

Michelle works big. Very big.

She and her crew coax mild steel into curvilinear forms that tower over the landscape.

She says, “Welders were my mentors.”

She needed mentors because it seemed the welding instructor was lukewarm about having her in his class.

But the experienced welders, in class to work on various certifications, were happy to help her learn what she needed to know to craft the giants she saw in her head.

On her website, Michelle categorizes her sculptures like this: monumental, taller-than-you, and maybe-taller-than-you. The following photo gives you an idea of what she means by monumental.

La Mujer Roja, 30’x14’x12’, Michelle O’Michael.

La Mujer Roja, 30’x14’x12’, Michelle O’Michael.

Steely prayer

Her clients may not know it, but before the vivid pigment is applied to the steel, Michelle uses chalk to cover each work in Sanskrit, a ceremonial language in many religions.

See more of Michelle’s work

O’Michael’s Studio
http://www.omichael.com/Welcome.html

Craighead Green Gallery
http://www.craigheadgreen.com/artists/omichael/index.htm

The Benini Studio and Sculpture Ranch
http://sculptureranch.com/sculptor-momichael.htm

 

Sharon Gray

Sharon Gray doing welding exercises.

Sharon Gray has a law degree but that hasn’t stopped her from taking up welding.
Photo: Ray McClain

She takes classes at her local community college, where welding instructors and art instructors cross-pollinate classes.

Sharon Gray's pedestal birdbath.Sharon used her burgeoning welding skills to build a rod pedestal for the glass bowl of the birdbath shown to the right.

For the time being, Sharon’s welding goals focus on developing her skills – and her welding wardrobe.

Not only has she acquired fancy gloves, there’s a rumor that her welding mask is hot pink!

National Welding Month

Love these welders who give us another opportunity to celebrate National Welding Month!