Small steel sculptures are ideal for tabletop or pedestal display. Think of them as being maquettes. They should be beautiful from every angle. Large stainless steel art sculptures are suitable as outdoor sculptures for lawn and garden display. I love the play of light on a polished stainless steel sculpture. Yet the interplay of light and dark on a steel sculpture made from hot pressed steel is also very interesting. My steel metal sculptures are all hand made in the USA by yours truly – nothing from China! American design and craftsmanship is still king. Please enjoy my gallery of welded steel sculptures:
Welded Steel Sculptures
Bronze and marble were the preferred medium for sculptures until the 20th century, when welding and fabricating equipment became widely available to metal sculpture artists. Steel is, of course, strong, though it does have the weakness of being prone to rusting outdoors. Corten and stainless steel address this concern, as do bronze, aluminum and copper. (The Statue of Liberty is completely made of copper!) Cold rolled steel and hot rolled steel are both easy to cut, shape, weld and grind. Stainless steel is tricky to work with. The metal is very hard – you have to cut it with a slow speed blade; it is slow to drill and the drill bit needs to be constantly cooled. It is easy to shape and edge welds are easy to do, but butt welds tend to sink when they are welded (they heat up to over 3300 degrees F!) and need to be immediately quenched. Welds are very hard and require special grinding media and extra patience for grinding.
Steel Sculpture Fabrication
Fabrication methods include cutting, shaping, welding, grinding and finishing. Each technique requires focused diligence and mastery. Just getting good at tig welding can take 1000 hours of practice. You can go to welding school to learn arc welding and mig welding, but the schools don’t show you how to change your welding modalities for the different metals, or how to adjust the welding machine to work properly for the job at hand. You have to learn all that on the job, trial and error. Many people are good with steel, but totally screw up stainless steel and really over-weld and over-grind the soft metals such as bronze and aluminum.
I find working with metal instantly creates a flow experience for me. The fabrication of these steel art sculptures begins with a flat sheet of metal which is then cut, shaped, welded and finished with love, then signed by the sculptor. I strive to make each sculpture into a large piece of jewelry. I prefer stainless steel for the outside sculptures because of it’s non-rusting quality, though some people like the way steel sculptures slowly rust outside, changing over time from silver to reddish brown. I will soon be working with Corten steel. It takes on a beautiful rust color but doesn’t rust all the way through and thus maintains its strength and integrity over time.
Each of my contemporary steel sculptures is one of a kind and all my metal sculpture is for sale. Please contact me for pricing and to discuss custom steel sculpture for your home and garden.
Here is a video about getting started with metal sculpture:
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