Welding Something from Nothing


New Rosie: Artist Karen LanceyCanadian artist and single parent Karen Lancey is proud to say she’s supported herself and her two daughters as an artist and welder for fourteen years.

Welding was almost a given.  “I was an artist….so it was a natural progression to want to stick things together,” she says. She enjoys creating things out of nothing, being her own boss, and having people buy the things that she loves making.

Karen is completely self-taught and mostly does MIG welding though she also does a bit of Oxy Acetylene and uses a plasma cutter. “I use mainly a 220 Lincoln MIG. I was using a small portable for awhile but like the bigger punch.”

When asked about her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated welding industry she says, “In the product/retail industry the guys are very helpful, maybe even more so. But in dealing with the public in some cases it is assumed as a female that I am the ‘sales girl’ and selling for my husband or boyfriend which is so outdated. I always answer ‘If a guy can do it how hard can it be?’ with a direct smile.”


Mermaid in Blue by Karen Lancey

What advice would she give her 15 year old self?

“Learn a hands on trade sooner, do not follow money or stereotypes but just keep doing what you are good at and do more to get better at it whether in time or classes or whatever, ask to be mentored even!”

What advice would she give young women interested in welding as a career?

Do it! Have a tough skin until you have either age or experience and just jump in and do it.

Find out more about Karen Lancey at her website,  http://www.metalmermaid.com.



9 comments on “Welding Something from Nothing”:

  1. Bria

    Awesome work! I have been working in landscaping (horticulture) for ten years and needed a change.
    I am an artist (painting mostly) and have always been fascinated with scrap metal. So, I enrolled at a local technical college that has a good welding program. It’s exciting. I plan to do sculpture and travel. Your story is an inspiration. You have beautiful work.

    Athens, GA

  2. Tassie

    I am in the same situation as domici. I have not started it yet but am very excited for the class. I’m taking oxy acetylene. Do you have any experience in this field? Do you have any tips?

  3. Judy

    It’s incredible that Karen and her daughters are creating art by welding metal. I’m impressed that she’s been creating welded art for fourteen years. That’s a long time to develop and perfect her craft. That seems apparent after looking at this picture of the mermaid that she made. It looks so intricate, I can see why it would take a lot of skill to make something with that many components. I would be interested to see some of her other works that she’s made with metal.

  4. Marko

    It is amazing how you managed to stick by your ideals for so long and succeed in life. It is nice to see more women interested in trades like welding and metal construction. It is especially great that is done because of art. Might you be familiar with Rosh Metal ? Their blog is a great source of information about metal construction, including various welding techniques.

  5. Hong Ky

    Thank for your story, you inspire me !. keep it up karen, it’s hard for a woman to be into welding job, but once you make it, you rule it!

  6. Master-welder

    I think, only 5% of welders are women. The advice I hear most often from welders, both men and women is that training and experience will take you far.
    So, Karen’s advice to her 15 year old self is a great one.


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