That’s Joanie under that mask!
You may know Arc-Zone’s Joanie Butler from the phone– she may have helped you put your welding supplies order together as part of our team, or she may have answered a technical welding question for you over email. When Joanie is not serving as Arc-Zone’s Pro Account Manager, she is working on her metal art. Joanie is known for taking scrap metal and turning it into amazing art. She has a fondness for critters, from dogs and owls to starfish and spiders. Check out her work on Instagram, you’ll be amazed.
One of Joanie’s recent projects was welding up this little bull dog for Aaron Biefer, owner/operator of Bulldog Welding in Holly, Michigan (check out his work, @BulldogWelding on Instagram).
When Aaron challenged Joanie to recreate his four legged BFF #bulldog Owen back in January, she was so happy to honor a pet that was still alive. “I had absolutely no idea my own dog would be diagnosed with an incurable cancer just a little over a month into the build,” she says. Continue reading
photo credit: Women Build Nations conference
Contractor Magazine reports “Record 1,500 tradeswomen attend Women Build Nations Conference in Chicago“
ROSEMONT, IL — Over 1,500 skilled tradeswomen from 40 U.S. states, Canada, Nigeria and the Philippines attended the Women Building Nations Conference held at Chicago’s Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel from April 29 to May 1. The conference, sponsored by North America’s Building Trades Unions and hosted by Chicago Women in Trades, featured 50 workshops; a speech from Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; and a panel of Building Trades International Presidents. READ MORE–>
All kinds of tradeswomen attended the Women Build Nations conference!
Readers of this blog know that Arc-Zone supports women working in the welding industry–currently only 2% of welders–so we were excited to read about how well attended the Women Building Nations conference was. Continue reading
Darlene Kerns has always been mechanical. “My dad had me working on cars when I was a little girl,” she says. In fact, her dad told her if she couldn’t fix it she couldn’t drive it—great incentive to learn. Darlene’s first job was working in an auto body shop.
“Metal art is all I do now,” Darlene says, and she’s been able to make a living with her art. She mainly works with oxy- acetylene because most of the metal she works with is recycled. For anything over 1/32-in. or for functional pieces for structural support, she MIG welds.
In welding Darlene has found an inner purpose. “I’m blessed to be able to bring happiness to people with my metal art creations,” she says. Darlene is also part of a loving and supportive community; her welding buddies are always giving her scrap metal. “I think more women would weld if they were given the opportunity and encouraged to. I’m grateful that I’ve had both.”
Darlene says as she creates she is always collecting recycled metal: sometimes she finds the perfect piece for a project she’s working on, sometimes she’ll make something from scratch, and sometimes she finds a piece for another project. “There are certain pieces of metal that scream what they want to be made into, so I just listen,” she says. Continue reading
Pamela Richardson: Woman Welder / Professor
Over twenty years ago Pamela Richardson was having car problems and the family mechanic, Uncle Walter, was busy. When Pamela’s car broke down (again) across the street from a Mom and Pop garage, she must of thought it was fate… the guy checked under the hood and said he could fix the car by the next day—for $450. She was so proud of herself for taking care of her own business until her uncle told her she’d been ripped off. The mechanic had installed $20 thermostat, a repair that with her uncle’s help she could have done herself.
Uncle Walter told Pamela she better learn how to do things like this for herself or she would continue to get taken advantage of… advice that resonates with any Do-It-Yourselfer!
“That very week I went to the nearest skill center,” she said. Pamela enrolled in an automotive repair program where she learned that in order to be a master mechanic she’d have to know how to weld as well. A quick tour of the welding department and she was ready to sign up.
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.” Continue reading