Muse Shoes sculpture by Trace Meek

Muse Shoes

It is fun to work with juxtapositions where the nature of the medium contrasts with the object it represents. In the case of Muse Shoes, I forged a pair of soft, delicate shoes out of hard, cold steel, and displayed them on a walnut base.

The process I used to make these is called oxyacetylene welding. Two gases, oxygen and acetylene, are combined under regulated pressures and are ignited at the tip of the welding torch.

The welder heats the intersection of the metals to be joined. As the metals begin to melt, the flame is swirled in order to moderate the heat and control the melting. More steel is fed to the cherry-red pool via a thin rod held in the other hand.

In many cases, arc welding (which uses electricity) is more efficient for basic joining operations. But flame-based welding lends itself to organic techniques such as bending, hammering, distressing, and applying patinas. Therefore oxyacetylene welding is attractive to the sculptor.

Private collection (not for sale).