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Centre student gets creative with welding

Staff writer

Zach Calvert, a senior at Centre High School, likes art and enjoys welding. For his English senior project, he combined the two interests to create a metal sculpture.

As a junior, Calvert took an Interactive Distance Learning art class from instructor Jim Versch of Marion High School. He was given an assignment to create a sculpture that would be at least 12 inches tall and would incorporate different shapes.

After creating a design on paper, he used heavy cardstock to produce a unique sculpture of stacked cubes and pyramids connected at different angles. They were set on an eight-inch high cylindrical base.

When it came time to pick a senior project, Zach decided to try to recreate the cardboard sculpture in metal.

“I figured I’d take something that was a memory and make it something real and lasting,” he said.

He found some unused sheets of steel in the industrial arts shop and spent two class periods a day for three weeks to build the sculpture. Using a torch, he cut out the pieces, then welded them together into three-dimensional shapes. He used a grinding machine to smooth all the edges and corners.

Calvert said the trick was in the stacking. Each shape had to be cut at just the right angle to fit onto the shape below it and to create a balanced product.

Finding himself short of time, Calvert substituted a square, flat base in place of a cylindrical base for the sculpture, positioning it in such a way that the whole thing would balance.

The completed product is four times larger than its prototype and weighs just over 100 lbs.

Zach isn’t sure what he will do with the sculpture. He used $350 worth of metal, which must be reimbursed to the school. He said he would like to sell the sculpture to recoup the cost of material. He said it could be used as a home lawn ornament or in a park.

Another option would be to find a way to pay for the material and keep it for himself. Or, he could donate it to the school.

“I’m hoping someone will buy it,” he said.

The sculpture is available for viewing in the commons area at Centre High School.

Last modified May 2, 2012

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