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Finding Dory

Looks like a winner!
There are two sides to every story

Welded metal art – 2019-23 Project #40. Everything was still winding down from the mystery, intrigue, and intensity of the mosquito project, and I was on a roll! After a little shop cleanup it was time to do some internet searching for the next project. I was feeling pretty satisfied with being able to pick and work my own projects. Don’t get me wrong, I dig outside projects and requests. But there is a real joy associated with the slightly random personal process of selecting and creating artistic pieces. So yeah, I was feeling free and awesome – well, not quite to the level of “naked welding” free and awesome (and even if I did, I’d make sure to wear a leather apron, sleeves, and shoes, of course! Who wants unnecessary flash burns or dirty feet?). In any case, I kept the awesomeness to a dull roar, and decided to keep the over-the-top feelings to myself … no need to create a stir in my quiet little neighborhood. As I was distracted with my own silliness, another situation crept up on me. Hmm, where’d all the good project ideas go?? I quizzically looked at my phone (as if it were the problem). Ok, maybe I wasn’t holding my phone right or typing in the wrong internet search. Is the WiFi on?? Lots of swipes and scrolls later and still nothing. Nothing but time an space – I was having the welded metal artist’s version of writer’s block. At that point I decided to just started pulling metal out of the bins and randomly arranging it to see if a destiny would present itself. In the process of sliding some old, used up kart chain around on the welding table, an idea for the next project began developing – a fish?! But what kind – salt water? Fresh water? Billy Bass? Exotic? Nemo? Ok, I really had no idea – I’m no ichthyologist. Let’s just go with it as an internet fish (aqueous fishimus internetious). So the creative dry spell seemed to be over (thank god). Moving on with myself – time to make some sparks.

The outline for my fish was constructed from vintage 35 kart chain, TIG welded into shape. The shape was partly my own design and partly from internet versions of metal art fish. I mixed and matched shapes until all the chain welds were finished. The eyes were constructed from two larger sized nuts welded together back to back, and then welded into place into the frame of the body. Various length bolts were welded along the top of the fish to give it’s top ‘fin’ a little character. Considering the bolts that were used, the top fin actually added a lot of character. A width dimension for the body was added by welding some thingy’s cut off a thing, on the side of the fish body. OK, the thingy’s were actually the legs from and outside spring caliper (it’s a measuring tool – another internet definition search saves the day). Two small scrap pieces of metal, cut into the shape of small side fins were added to the caliper legs to complete the fish. A rod stock piece (slid up through the middle of the chain body and welded into place) and crankshaft gear were used as a mount and base to display the fish. I don’t normally name project pieces, but for some reason this one gave me the impression it needed a name … and no, not Billy Bass. With all the silliness and cartoon antics that seemed to be associated with this project, it only seemed appropriate to go with the name Dory.

In the end, I had made it through a bout of welder’s artistic block. The struggle was so real I actually forgot to take in-process photos of the work. So all I have are finished product photos – and quite a few of them (I guess I was subconsciously making up for the lack progress photos by taking a bunch at the end?). I think that while some lessons that are learned along the way in this artistic venture are big and flashy (they appear more memorable), sometimes the little and not so flashy lessons are the most heart-felt and meaningful … those little moments that make you smile for heartwarming reasons. So enjoy those little things and moments, and don’t be surprised when you catch yourself smiling. The tough days (yes, there are going to be some pretty tough ones) make you appreciate the good days, and great days are really just learning to experience the good days with style. So there you have it – keep your clothes on, appreciate the little things, name your fish, stuff it and hang it on your wall (yeah, I don’t know?), have a GREAT day … and get your Weld On!