MHS Students Create Metal Art in Innovative Fabrication Class
By Bailey Gabrielle – Students at Marshfield High School have the chance to follow in the footsteps of local artist Clyde Wynia by learning how to shape metal into art.
This school year, Innovative Fabrication became a new course offering at Marshfield High School. Innovative Fabrication combines both traditional metal tech classes with sculpture. The class is team taught by Ben Will and Tim Bergelin, who teach metal tech and art classes, respectively.
Bergelin said, “I’m most excited about this course because it’s another STEAM course, meaning that we have a course that has science technology, engineering, art, and math together, and I think for a lot of students that’s an opportunity that’s very rare to have.”
The course is unlike any metals class offered at the high school. It allows students creative freedom in the shop environment, which is something that seasoned shop class students aren’t accustomed to.
Senior Anthony Retzlaff said, “I used a lot of blueprints before taking [innovative fabrication] and got my ideas off of that. From this class, I learned how to think a little bit more and to problem solve. I like the creative aspect of this class.”
The class is open to students from grades 10-12 and has had impressive enrollment in its first year. Innovative Fabrication appealed to students for its dual appearance as a metals class and an art class.
Alysha Bauer, a veteran welder, said, “I took this class because I really loved the technical welding classes that we had here at the high school and it gives me more of a creative outlet.”
Innovative Fabrication is made up of students with varying experience in welding.
Ian Rootellis, a beginner welder, said, “My first experience with welding was pretty interesting. I was expecting it to be a lot more dangerous than it was; it wasn’t as difficult as I thought.”
Students use a variety of machines and tools in Innovative Fabrication although wire feed welders are the primary tool used in each project. Safety is taken very seriously in the Marshfield Metal Tech Lab and students are not allowed to use the welders until trained in lab safety.
Cade Esker said, “[Welding] is dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you take all the safety procedures, then it is pretty safe.”
Students are challenged to create a variety of projects using different types of metal. Their first project was a junk sculpture made from scraps and interesting pieces brought in to the shop by the students.
Bauer said, “One of the biggest challenges of this class is definitely not selling myself short on what I can take from my brain and put into metal format. Because sometimes you just think in your head ‘Oh, this is going to be really cool,’ but you don’t think there’s going to be a way to get it out into a very hard metal type format.”
Second semester Innovative Fabrication students recently completed their wire project: a framed work made out of different diameters of wire. Students were challenged to create designs based off of Art Deco or Art Nouveau style.
Retzlaff, who is thinking of going into the welding profession post-military, said, “My favorite project is probably our current project, which is using sheet metal. I think this project will be interesting because you’re going to see a lot more intricate designs, more geometric designs.”
Innovative Fabrication opens the door of the Marshfield Metal Tech Lab to even more possibilities in the shop. First semester students created benches that will be donated to the community.
Overall, Innovative Fabrication has proven itself as a valuable and unique course offering that will encourage students to explore more career options in the field of welding.