Laura S. Lewis

Welding trash into treasure

<em>Forged Spoon Rose</em>, 2021, spoons and enamel.
Forged Spoon Rose, 2021, spoons and enamel.

Laura S. Lewis studied sculpture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and now, a decade later, works as a welder by day and an artist by night. “I love to weld—that’s my primary job,” she says. “I feel like it’s magic.” In her Atlanta studio, she welds sculptures out of discarded scrap metal, including 400 pounds of the stuff that she recently received from Alex Benigno, or “Atlanta’s magnet man,” who uses a bike magnet to retrieve scrap from roadways. “I have an interest in environmentalism and recycling,” Lewis says.

  • Little Bluebird, 2022, scrap steel, glass cabochon, 8” x 6” x 2”.

In her work, Lewis tries to re-create forms and figures of the natural world, but she tries not to overanalyze her compositions. “I like to let the material inform me,” she says. “I grab a handful of scrap, throw it on my table, and it’s like a puzzle.” For Lewis, welding is a meditative practice. Most of her sculptures are representations of flowers, cats, dogs, and other animals. The art, she says, becomes a sort of meta-narrative because of the materials she uses. “It’s a bunch of raw metals that come from the Earth and are processed into this thing,” she says. “I love the process of making it back into something that resembles a natural object. Nature is the best artist there is.”

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Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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