I Learned to Weld!

This term I am taking Design II, which focuses on 3D graphic elements.  For my most recent project, I needed to incorporate railroad tracks.  The only way to do so that was cost-effective (i.e. not buying model railroad tracks) was for me to bend the rod and learn to weld so I could put it together myself.

The project was to take an existing object and give it a “new life” with a metaphor (OMG, I hate metaphors!).

Of course, any skin or clothing that touched the rod got completely filthy, which I don’t mind, but find rather funny, actually.  I am just happy I was wearing a black shirt that day so my mess wasn’t completely evident!

Having never welded before, I didn’t put much thought into the clothing I wore to the campus that day; however, I did take tennis shoes to put on in place of my flip-flops.  Unfortunately, my Capri’s didn’t really cover my legs and my t-shirt was short-sleeved, so I wore booties over my shoes and a jacket to protect my arms.


Even though my welds aren’t super quality, I’m really happy with how my project turned out.  The rails look like I wanted them to, and I believe anyone can tell what they are.

This is my final project.  I used this old stool that belonged to my grandfather as the base for my sculpture.  My grandfather was very prim, proper, and serious.  However, he had a huge model railroad, and when he “played” with his railroad, he would change into a conductor’s uniform and sit on this stool.  Later in life, he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and he became quite child-like.  I can remember going on walks with him when I was little, and it was only when I was older that my parents told me we were allowed to go because I could remember how to get home if he couldn’t.

This is what I wrote for the critical analysis of my project, which explains the project pretty well:

The object I have chosen to repurpose and give new life to is an old, broken stool.  The stool was originally used by my grandfather as part of his model railroad system.  He would sit on the stool, wearing his conductor’s uniform while he “played” with his model trains.

My grandfather was a very prim, proper, and austere man; he was very rigid in his demeanor and beliefs, as well as in his profession as an architect.  He was a very tall, arrogant and overbearing man.  His child-like infatuation with his model railroad and his battle later in life with Alzheimer’s is what moved me to rebuild the stool as it is now.

The tall, rigid structure built using the pieces of the stool is a metaphor for my grandfather’s unbending, stuffy manner.  In contrast, the discombobulated shape created by the manner the legs and seat were reassembled demonstrates the disjointed way his mind worked during his battle with Alzheimer’s.  The swirly, roller-coaster train tracks that move through the piece represent that childhood quality about my grandfather that very few people knew.  The entire structure is balanced on a red brick, representative of the churches my grandfather designed.

I used the lines created by both the stool legs and the metal rod to draw the viewer’s eye through the piece to the bottom, which is balanced on the brick, held in place utilizing another piece of rod.  By retaining the original colors of the stool and metal, I placed more emphasis on the shape of the structure itself, as well as on the meaning behind it.

I am happy I learned how to make a basic weld, but more than anything, I am happy that I learned a lot about my grandfather that I didn’t previously know.