Through the wonderful social medium that is Facebook, we have been fortunate enough to meet a variety of dedicated and uniquely talented women welders who are working their way through life with a torch in hand. Here’s what Karine Maynard says about welding, and life:
My name is Karine Maynard, and I live in central Kentucky. I work as a blacksmith who helps to make ornamental & architectural ironwork, mostly custom jobs, like railings and balconies; sometimes we get smaller commissions for tables, fire screens, etc.
Growing up on a tree farm in Wisconsin, my father also had an auto parts store and I’d probably still be there and running the place now, except that when it came time for him to retire he said it was “no business for a girl,” so I went to college and one of the things I studied was art.
I got my introductions to working in metal in jewelry-making classes, and I studied everything including political science, foreign languages and history – but really my early years in the country surrounded by auto shops & farming gave me the taste for things “hands on”. I also traveled a lot internationally in college and that really expanded my ideas as well as introduced me to other cultures and interesting people.
I knew I just wouldn’t be happy in a career unless I had my hands in creating something and got to meet new people. I later went on to graduate school studying art and art history. By then I had met my husband, who has been teaching me our trade ever since. I like to think I’ve taught him a thing or two on the way as well! Once I got a welder of my own, I haven’t stopped since.
We currently have our own business, Maynard Studios and we meet each client and get to know them before we design for their space. We don’t generally use castings, but each piece is created in our shop, and it includes a lot of hand-forging, welding, and creative thinking.
It’s very often a challenging job, but we get along as a couple working together every day very well and the atmosphere is always friendly. Some call me the apprentice, but most call me the “boss”.
My daughter Elaine, is just turning 15. What I encourage her most is to visualize a project, draw it out, and then plan how it could be done. The HOW always comes last, because if you have an initial idea that is good, the rest can be worked out later. There is always a lot to learn, and the first part is doing it, because that’s how you learn how to ask the right questions.
When young people ask me how they can do the things that I do, I tell them to pay attention in Math class, learn how to draw, and to remember, the guy who shoots the fireworks off on the fourth of July? He’s called a rocket scientist. And this is waaaay easier than rocket science.
If you’re a woman welder, let us know! What advice would you give to women entering the field? We’d love to put you in the spotlight!