West Press Tries: Metal Work


Hannah Gerbert

As someone who enjoys drawing but lacks training in other artistic endeavors, I was determined to investigate metalwork — an interesting educational option for our more serious artists here at Lakota West. I enjoyed dabbling in these foreign skills as I gave Mrs. Kitchen’s class a try.

The second I walked into Mrs. Kitchens’s first bell, the atmosphere was quiet and focused. The metals students worked diligently and felt comfortable going up to the teacher or grabbling items. With few students in the class, I felt like I was invited into a home. The teacher was calm and helped me a little bit on every step before leaving me to my work. The class wasn’t afraid to make a small joke,  showing how everyone was understanding and light-hearted with one another. Though I knew no one, it didn’t feel awkward as everyone was set in their work, including me.

I was given a simple project to connect three different pieces of metal to form an organic shape. I first had to cut out the pieces, which I was able to do in one class bell, and wasn’t terribly difficult. My hands got tired from clenching, but I was too enthralled in trying to get my cuts straight to be annoyed. The next steps were for me to file and sand the pieces. The filing and sanding were long and tedious, but rewarding. Perfecting the pieces took patience and attention; it seemed there was always more that could be done. The pieces also had to be cleaned – a step I did not expect. I soldered the pieces together to create the final shape of my project, arguably my favorite part. 

I was happy with my experience and even though some steps were repetitive, I saw the beauty of working hard and getting what I wanted. The comfort of the classroom made it easier to complete my work. Talking to a student I learned that they joined metals because they love the industrial arts. If that sounds like you maybe consider trying more metals projects.