PNWS members gathered at the studio of Dave Gonzo for a hands-on experience with torch welding sculpture. The Saturday event was the monthly meeting of PNWS members and guests hosted each month at a different member’s studio. The hosting member usually discusses his or her work and demonstrates how they work.
After an opening social hour, guests got reacquainted at a potluck lunch outdoors. Next, Gonzo invited everyone inside his historic small barn studio.
Since this was to be a hands-on event for sculptors interested in learning to weld, safety was the first order of business.
Lessons in Torch Welding Sculpture Classes
Gonzo who, besides his life as a sculptor also offers welding classes, explained how oxyacetylene works, what the risks are, and how to minimize those risks. A few of his guests stepped away from the large tanks of gases as he elaborated on the worst-case scenario.
He demonstrated how to perform basic tasks such as lighting the torch, which must be done in a specific sequence, and then how to adjust the flame with just the right mix of the two gasses.
The introductory lecture over, Gonzo called for volunteers. He had set up three welding stations. Amber Metz, who joined PNWS in March, was the first to step forward.
Besides sculpting in wax, clay, foam, and mixed media, she also creates two-dimensional art in pencil, ink, paint, and chalk. Gonzo patiently guided Metz through the basic technique of using the flame called the “cone” to perform the actual welding.
Metz grasped the technique quickly, and Gonzo turned her loose to practice on her own. Chayo Wilson was next, followed by Jacque Shayne.