Canadian 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in some cases it is assumed as a female that I am the ‘sales girl’ and selling for my husband or boyfriend which is so outdated.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.”
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.