We learned a lot in this episode. First, the terminology. The "MIG" in MIG welding stands for Metal Inert Gas. Also: the process of learning how to weld is exciting, because it's creative, it gives you a feeling of power, and the outfits are cool.

Our lesson occurred at Sculpture Space on Gates Street in Utica, a widely unknown Central New York institution. Maybe you've passed by their building--it's the one in West Utica with the gigantic pieces of art that look like they fell off of a Dr. Seuss truck in the middle of the front yard. Their workshop became our playground.

The process uses electricity, a wire electrode, and a shielding gas that feeds through the welding gun and fastens the two pieces together. When you pull the trigger on the gun, it short-circuits the electrical current and the lights go out briefly.

The experience came courtesy of IdooLocal.com, the local adventure company specializing in exposing folks to different activities and sensations they've only heard about but never tried.

Our host was Tom Montan, the Executive Director of Sculpture Space, and our teachers were artists George Hendrickson, the Studio Manager, and Development Associate Marc-Anthony Polizzi. They were really patient and encouraging, even when it was painfully obvious we had no idea what we were doing.

Still, with their easygoing tutelage, we succeeded in adding to a metal sculpture that some schoolchildren had begun. And we didn't screw it up.

If you stop by Sculpture Space, you'll see the community sculpture that features a small percentage of our work. And you might even have a chance to add to it.

The Sculpture Space website has lots of good info, including their mission statement, which reads in part:

We are dedicated to the belief that art, particularly sculpture, has the power to strengthen our understanding of the world around us. We are committed to providing artists with the time and resources to fully explore their creative potential. Sculpture Space also seeks to expand public awareness...

Consider our awareness expanded. We recommend you go and expand yourself.

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