A brief encounter with metal artist, Sarah Stork
We’ve been obsessed with Sarah Stork’s metal sculptures for quite some time and finally got the nerve to ask her to be a part of the Carmen Electrode™ community. To our absolute delight, she accepted and we are happy to share her insight into the welding industry.
Take one look at Sarah’s Instagram and you’ll see why we had to feature her here! Plus, Baileigh Industrial. Like, the Baileigh Industrial gave her a pretty rad shoutout, sharing her work with their 1m followers. So you could say she’s kind of a big deal.
My name is Sarah Stork. I am 40 years old and live just outside the city limits of Georgetown Texas.
I enjoy the beaches of far away places, snorkeling, swimming, boating and fishing in the summer months. Snowboarding in the winter, mountain biking in the fall and spring is for gardening.
How long have you been welding? What got you interested?
I started welding in 2013 at Austin community college for code welding. I chose that degree because it looked like something I could do and we just moved to a property that needed a pipe fence around to keep cows for agricultural exemptions.
I figured, anything men can do, I can do it too. I can be stubborn sometimes but it kept me focused on besting myself everyday.
Do you weld as a hobby or for work?
I am enjoying the freedom of working on art metal from my home shop. Occasionally, I get random projects to fix or fabricate that are not sculptures. It keeps me in practice for the principles of welding and standards I learned.
I’ve repaired tractor buckets, hole auger stands, fire pits, BBQs, benches, tables, truck-bed racks for holding glass, fence building and gates.
But my passion is for the sculptures, which I am currently on number 22!
How did you train? What welding processes do you use the most or feel more familiar with?
I had my formal training at Austin community college and graduated in 2016 with my AAS in code welding. In my shop at home, I’ve been using my little MIG machine the most for sculptures and small projects. I find it easier for filling in and moving the puddle around.
I do own a Lincoln SA 250 for structures or fence building- it’s a beast of a welder. It’s always a surprise to watch the flames shoot out from the recycled oil field pipe. It’ll wake you up in the morning.
Actually I am looking forward to getting back into TIG welding soon after my shop gets it expansion. I miss the stainless colors and the lightness of aluminum.
As for my art, I haven’t had any formal art training or art metal classes. Just learning as I go.
Have you experienced discrimination as a woman welder? If YES, how have you handled it? If NO, why do you think that is?
Discrimination for being a woman in welding is disheartening. It takes a lot of courage, skill and dedication to be a welder. When someone has the heart to do the job, then why make it difficult or treat one differently? We are all in this because we are passionate about the work- no matter what the gender.
Occasionally, there is always that one guy that gives credit to my husband for my art metal but I don’t let it bother me so much.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
Smile and stay positive no matter what is flying in your direction. The only person you have anything to prove to is yourself.
Do you think it’s a good career path for a young woman? What advice would you give a young woman entering the workforce?
For you young women heading into the the welding oven, it’s loud and obnoxious at times but some of these men are really not so bad. They are just trying to keep a tough image. Prepare yourself with snappy comebacks.
The world has changed over the last few months. Hardly recognizable. Welding today is still a good skill choice. If anything, it can be traded if needed. Having any skill is good during these interesting times.
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Keeping up with social media has been my biggest challenge because I never really took videos or even photos of myself. It was awkward at first but I’m getting the hang of it.
What do you think about the following misconceptions about women and welding?
Welding is not work for women
Welding doesn’t require a gender.
You don’t need to be smart to be a welder
To succeed in welding, it requires intelligence for problem solving miracles.
Welding is dirty work
Dirty if you wanna be, not all welding is dirty.
There are not a lot of opportunities to advance
Depends on the person. Some are happy with less responsibility, others want to run it.
Where do you see the Job opportunities in this industry?
The world has always needed welding for the infrastructure. Aged roads, dams builds, and bridges.
What’s the best path for success for both women and men, especially given the projected shortage of skilled welders?
Having the ability to work on projects at home is recommended. Being mobile to remotely work on anything.
Where do you find support or like-minded people to make it through the industry?
I see the art others make on social media. Everyone has different talent tastes and techniques. They all are open to share their process with creating the art. Which is pleasant. shaping sheet metal is my new adventure. So I’ll be visiting the YouTube channels for advice and instructions as well as contacting a few experts on the subject.
Thank You, Sarah
We’d like to express our gratitude to Sarah for taking the time to talk with us. Her artwork is absolutely stunning and we wish her the best of luck with all of her endeavors.
Social media offers the largest network of female oriented support groups. You can find everything from resources and training courses, to creative inspiration and then some! Visit Carmen Electrode on Instagram to meet the fearless female entrepreneurs, hustlers, and boss babes blazing the trail in the trades industry.