Ornamental Welding

Course Description

This course is 24 hours of ornamental welding instruction. It will include an introduction to metal work for students with limited knowledge of welding. The course will focus on plasma cutting, GMAW (MIG) welding, forming and fabrication of linear stock, steel and “found” (recycled) metal projects. Students will make two required projects and then have a choice of creating one of five pre-designed metal art projects that they will take home.

  • Projects MUST be able to be completed within the 24 hours of lab time provided.
  • Minimum of 3 and maximum of 8 students per class.
An auto-darkening welding helmet, leather welding gloves, and a welding jacket are required for this class. These items are available for purchase at IAI as a kit for $250.00.

This training is very active and requires standing, walking, bending, kneeling, and stooping, throughout the training period.  While performing the training, the student will be required to use hands and fingers to feel, handle or operate objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms

Course Schedule

Four (4) Saturdays
 8:30am -3:00pm (w/ .5-hour lunch break)
 April 15 – May 6, 2023

Three (3) Days
8:00AM till 4:30PM (w/ .5-hour lunch break daily)
Friday, June 16 and 
Monday, June 19 and
Tuesday June 20, 2023

Program Costs

includes instruction on use of lab tools/equipment, GMAW (MIG) welding & hand-held plasma cutting.  Also includes project metals and welding consumables for  three projects noted in course description.

I Want to Be a Metal Artist!

A Q&A with Ann Gildner, Industrial Arts Institute Artist-in-Residence

With large pieces of public art on display all over Northern Michigan, Industrial Arts Institute Artist-in-Residence Ann Gildner is the very definition of a successful artist.  Aspiring metal sculptors stand in awe of her work and want to be her when they grow up.

But how did Ann get to where she is today, and what can a newcomer to ornamental welding expect in his or her quest for artistic greatness?  She sat with us for a few minutes to answer questions her background and IAI’s metal art classes.

Q:  Ann, how long have you been an artist and were you always a metal artist?
A: I’ve been interested in art all my life, but metal wasn’t where I started.  I paint, I do pottery.   I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Siena Heights University and made a lot of stops along the way, including curating and floral design.  But, overall, I wanted to make art and I wanted it to be outside.  And really, metal is the only thing that withstands the elements, so about 13 years ago I signed up for a welding class.

Q:  Did you go right from that 16-week class to making art like “Becca” and “Departure”?
A:  No, those big sculptures didn’t come the minute I finished class, but I was determined, and I moved quickly. In class, you’re introduced to different types of welding and a variety of tools.  It takes a lot of practice to get it right, and that’s what I did.   I started small, making 12-24” maquettes of sculptures that I wanted to do.  When I finally had one that I liked, I blew it up big! 

Q:  What do you want your ornamental welding students to know about becoming a metal artist?
A:  Students learn to MIG weld on simple projects – because they have to learn the basics of welding first! Every student brings a different set of experiences, but no one masters these skills overnight.  As they return for more sessions, they grow into more intricate projects.  If you’re signing up for a class, bring some patience and determination.  Welding isn’t easy.  But it’s fun, interesting, and so rewarding when you get the result you want. 

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