Ross Sculptural Metalworker
have been working in metal now for just over two years,
prior to this I had been working in wood and making kites.
Both of these are activities that I have been taking part
in for a number of years and had started to feel very stale
in. My long term interest in cycling led to me looking at
working in metal to find an outlet for my creative urges.
The next thing my partner had sent me on a night class in
Gas welding and Brazing. At the end of my first lesson I
tapped up my folks, Brian and Margaret Gopsill for the cash
to set myself up with the basic kit for welding and I was
off. I did not have a clue what I was going to do, I just
new that 'It' had to be done, whatever 'It' was. This was
just over two years ago, and I look back and find it hard
to believe just how far my work has come and wonder where
'It' is going to go in the next few years.
welding class I took had no artistic content at all being
aimed at basic fabrication and car restoration. Because
of this I have had to find my own style and adapt what are
in effect purely industrial techniques for use in an artistic
manner. I use three main techniques; Oxyacetylene welding
in which acetylene and oxygen are burned to produce a flame
of about 3,000c in which ferrous metals melt and hence are
welded together. Brazing, a similar technique except that
a Brass filler rod is melted into the joint effectively
sticking the pieces together. The third approach I use is
the more modern technique of MIG welding, in which a thin
steel wire is melted into the parent metal via an electrical
Arc and protected by a shield of Argon gas.
welding is probably the method I use the most as it is very
versatile and can be misused to good effect. Most of the
surface textures on my work are a result of the MIG process.
It is, as a method frowned upon among traditional metalworkers
and gallery owners for reasons I do not really understand,
but possibly due to it's lack of a history and tradition
and maybe the fact that it is a fairly easy technique learn
the basics of.
developed three main styles of work and combine these to
suit the piece I am working on.
initially started out using so called 'Found Items' as I
had a supply of worn out bike components mostly made of
steel on which to practise my basic joins and as my skills
developed I found that I had an 'eye' for seeing the unorthodox
in the everyday, for example a dinosaur in a bike chain
or a centipede in a typewriter. This is an area that has
always interested me: to see the link between modern-day
mechanics and nature. And to see how easily one can be substituted
for the other, my favourite example of this effect being
backbones and drive chains. I also enjoy using old tools
as components for example pliers as jaws, or antique cutlery
as feet or other body parts. I like the idea of somebody
looking at a piece of work twenty times before seeing what
it actually is, or in fact was.
next moved onto the age old techniques of panel beating
in which flat shapes are cut out and hammered into and around
things to create hollow forms. A method I found suited to
modelling shelled creatures as crabs or fishes with their
simple flowing forms.
most recent style is based on use of MIG welding equipment.
And basically involves roughing out a shape in steel using
off cuts and bits and pieces to create almost a sketch,
prior to over welding the whole surface so that the artist
is in effect painting in three dimensions with molten steel.
A very satisfying technique to use as one is not so much
forming an object into something else but rather forming
a chaos of molten steel into a solid shape and controlling
what are really quite vile and satanic forces as part of
Rat Patrol - Out on the Weekend