Learn About Kristen's Process for Creating Art
One of my favorite things to do is go to the scrap metal yard. There are mountains and mountains of metal and bins filled with all kinds of treasures. It's almost like Christmas when I look in each bin to see what it holds.
The metal is all separated by type of metal aluminum, stainless and steel. Sometimes when I go to the metal yard I have a specific idea of what I want or need for a piece and on most occasions I find it! On other occasions I find pieces and I can see the possibilities in the metal and I it spurs specific ideas.
Most of the steel that I find is pretty rusty and in particular I use a lot of plow discs in my sculptures. In order to get the rust off I get the discs I get them sandblasted, this cleans off the rust but still leaves the texture of the pitted metal.
Plow Discs – Before and after sandblasting
My studio is a 800 sq. ft garage and I have a lot of tools that allow me to do just about anything I want to metal; bandsaws, welders, benders, shears, and grinders. I also collect a lot of salvage metal that I store there as well and recently I organized all the metal by type of metal. This allows me to just go and play with different textures and types of metal.
Views Of Kristen Hoard's Studio
The plasma cutter is what I use to cut out most of my designs. It works like a dream (if you are dreaming of cutting through metal) and cuts through metal like butter. it is the "toy" that is the most fun. But it does require a lot of time to clean up the metal after it is cut.
Kristen Hoard at work with the Plasma Cutter & A close-up of the equipment
The grinding is where the metal gets all cleaned up from the plasma cutter. and its also where all the textures come from. The grinders are my paint brushes, because I use them in different ways to add the textures and finishes to the metal. I have several different heads on my grinders that allow me to get a different texture depending on the effect I'm looking for. Its all in the wrist!
A selection of grinders & Kristen at work grinding a piece in her studio
I use a MIG welder to do all of my welding. I can weld steel and aluminum because I have two different guns. I also use two different tanks of gases. I can weld steel, aluminum and stainless steel!
Kristen welding in her studio & a view of the welding area
Coloring and Finishing
One of the last steps is the coloring, this is probably one of my favorite parts of the process. I use a couple of different patinas on my steel pieces. The patinas react with the metal in a chemical process and I can use a heat to change the color.
I also use solvent dyes to get brighter colors on the metal and mix my own colors to get the desired effects.
Once I have the piece done I take it to the powdercoater who sprays on a clear glossy powder and then bakes the piece in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. The powder coating protects the piece and adds a beautifully gloss finish.
I also create a lot of pieces with a resin coating, which is a two-part coating that basically seals the metal under a thick coating that gives the piece dimension and it looks like glass! I can use the resin to "glue" any type of material together... I love it!