Kim Delany ~ Iron Maiden
Click the photo to read Arla Shephard's
Mason County Life article
I'm Kim Delany, and I have been asked a number of times how it is that I came to work with iron. I think that because I am a woman it sometimes takes people by surprise. Well…it all began when a friend and I went for a ride up Mt. Rainier near Elbe one Sunday. He was a welder and wanted me to see this particular place with these huge scrap iron sculptures that were very unique. They were so cool that the impact they had on me literally made my knees weak and my stomach turn flip flops with excitement. I just knew at that moment that I had to do that. I think the artist/owner could tell that I was extremely enthralled and offered me a tour and shared his suggestions as to how I might get started. It was his belief that the more you share…the more you receive and I’m so thankful for that.
After returning home the next day, I inquired with my local community college about signing up for a beginners welding class. Fortunately for me that particular instructor had a program where he allowed those students who wanted to learn for their own artistic or self enrichment versus a welding certification that they could attend as many night classes per week as they desired for the cost of one credit but that his time would be very limited. I jumped on it. I soon learned that there was no shortage of advice. It helps to be a woman in a class filled with men. I’ve since advised my single girlfriends that if you want to find a man…take a welding class!
At that time in my life it was kind of my second childhood in that my kids were grown and I had quite a bit more time to explore my own passions. I was working on a large construction project where I was able to scrounge left over building materials, of which rebar was a part of. I had my base material to work with that didn’t cost me a dime, although I had to get it home which is a whole other story as it was in 20’ sticks. It just seemed that everything was coming together just when I needed it... funny how that sometimes works. But that rebar was just the beginning of my need for raw materials. I was on the hunt! Because I also have background in excavating contracting and was used to being around heavy equipment it kind of came natural. Though I remember the days when I used to have fits about all the junk iron my ex-husband would drag home and “trash” up the place…well, guess who’s doin’ it now. Lol!
I learned the hard way ($$$) that I was not good enough to justify purchasing what I needed for raw materials at brand new prices. I spent close to $200 on a sheet of steel to make a welding table that turned out horrible, so I decided to stick with scrap iron. It didn’t hurt so badly when I flubbed up. And ironically a short time later I was informed of a college auction coming up in which I ended up bidding and receiving TWO welding tables for $100 each. They had a vice on each corner. I sold all but two of the vices for the cost of the tables. Now that was a much better deal. And…they were level!
My first project was an arbor for my mom. The perfect person to make something for because no matter how bad it turns out she’s gonna tell you it’s beautiful. Well it actually wasn’t too bad but what I learned from that project was to not put too much artistic value in something that a plant is going to grow over and cover up. I also learned early on that I wasn’t really cut out to create custom work because it was a bit too painful when I put my heart and soul into something to be told “that it wasn’t quite what I had in mind” particularly when it equated to $5.00 per hour. That’s when I decided that it suited me best to put it simply “I build it…you like it…you buy it”. Everyone’s happy.
I’m not sure how I came to adopt the idea of making “functional art” except that I think that people might be more inclined to spend money on art if it had a purpose as well as an intrinsic value. That, and it seems kind of timeless.
I hope you enjoy my work.
Home & Marine Upholstery
Specializing in custom upholstery, especially for heavy and durable fabric needs. From boats, to automobiles, to home interiors, one of my favorite pasttimes is making something look and feel new and vibrant again!