I have recently completed my welding course at Tameside College in Ashton, Manchester. I’ll be receiving a Level 1 certificate any day now.
Over the months, I’ve been able to feel confident in being able to set-up and use a MIG welder, and I’m able to do a range of joints. Soon I’ll be setting up my own little MIG welder and working on some projects on my own. Specifically, my work with One Five West has recently led to a commission with Curated Place for Bury Light Night and SPECTRA Festival in Aberdeen. As we’ll be developing outdoor artworks for festivals, this is where my welding can finally come into practice.
I’m planning to take structures I’ve created before, like the above (Code and Carpentry, 2016) and make them more durably from metal.
Investing time and money into up-skilling is definitely something I need to make myself do more. Being out of a university environment where there isn’t the access to equipment, and being aware that getting things professionally fabricated can be costly (and risky, what if it doesn’t turn out how you thought it would?), it can be hard to make the progress into work that’s currently only in your head.
I also think time out into different environments can be refreshing, and forces you to lift your head out of research to see other ways of doing things, to see other ways people work, and afford yourself the satisfaction of setting yourself a learning goal that can be quantified and measured. I think a lot of making work is waiting for an, “a-ha!” moment, and relying on intuition for when something feels right. Doing this course, and others, was a satisfying way of succeeding against set aims.
In the wider sense, I see only benefit in adding more strings-to-your-bow. The skills you learn from dance to welding can be transferred into different settings quite easily, and it’s an interesting experience to hear different types of terminologies and priorities in different types of work settings.
Next on my agenda is dance. I’m currently doing some R&D for collusion. I’m making an AI art piece that people can physically interact with to curate their own video content. Therefore I thought it might me interesting to learn more about dance and the body. I think the opportunity to up-skill through the Professional Development Bursary at a-n has opened me up more to trying new things in unusual contexts (being the only woman at a welding course for instance. Quite an interesting experience for us all!), and something I intend to do more in the future to develop and influence my work.