MEET UP TO ORGANIZE FOR NO TANKERS


As a recently certified welder, I have been thinking deeply about my own choices of what kind of work I want to apply for. I am certified as a ‘structural welder’ by the Canadian Welding Bureau which boasts the highest standards when it comes to structural welding. I can choose to work with any small or large company that have need for welders to weld things together for good!

For example, I have applied to work as a welder for maintenance of BC Ferries, another example would be working with Marine Worker’s Union No.1 for a company that belongs to under the banner of Seaspan. Working in the shipyards would be a unique experience and one that I would welcome. Everyday in the news we hear about Port Expansion and development, I am learning about these issues, about our economy and where the jobs are for British Columbians.

There are three reasons I chose to go into welding. To use the skill of welding in the field of art, to apply it to creating public art and to work with other artists. The second reason I chose it is to have the ability to make more than ‘the living wage’ (which is 18.00/hr). The third and last reason, is that I wanted to challenge myself personally, to learn a practical skill that I could build on and get better at by practice. I look forward to working within the marine environment and hope to use the certification that I worked hard to attain. 

I am supporting the Dogwood Initiative because I will be a part of helping to conserve and preserve the Fraser River Estuary, the wetlands and marshes, and the coastline in general. I have decided that conservation is more important than development and prosperity. At the same time, I think that we can have a decent balance between the two. In the weeks ahead up to election day, I hope to have ongoing conversations with friends, neighbours and co-workers to further educate myself and continue to consider the near future, to understand what expansion and development means for BC’s coastline, so I can make informed choices for my livelihood for the environment and future generations.

Each one is like a trophy

To give a visual I made this ‘mountain range’ based on what I have been working on at school. It is best understood like the journey of a marathon. Peaks and valleys are sharp some days you are coasting other days you swear you will quit or get left for dead on the side of the road without one of those nice people who will give you a cup of water! I am not certain what has been harder the mental or physical demand for certain it has been a complete workout or work over of mind and body!

Once upon a time I used to be afraid to light the barbeque, not anymore. Many days I light the oxy-acetylene torch and track cutter at school, which I thought I would never feel okay about and then marvel at what I am doing. “It is unnatural”, one Instructor said, here we are banging metal, joining it, working with it and learning how to make a structurally sound weld. At UAPICBC there are 32 welding booths, well equipped with ample room for the welder and/or Instructor and even a couple of other students who may want to watch a demonstration.

I was so happy to complete the SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’ and am now well on my way to completing the GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’. Every welder who is working towards Level C must complete this and then go onto finish a CWB test and fulfill 1000 hours to obtain the ticket.

Each one is like a trophy, a terrific amount of work goes into the ‘coupons’. Measuring, cutting, grinding, welding and grinding again. Only to pass or fail. I have not yet come up with what I will do with all of them when I am finished, maybe put them in the garden or make some sort of sculpture.

I like the combination of science, functionality and creativity that exists in the trade. In the middle of the bend is the weld, which you can’t see. The welder who is successful will join two pieces of steel together making them one. Then you will go to the ‘heart breaker’, a press that tests the strength of the weld, aptly named by students and have it tested to see if it is structurally sound. It’s a pass or fail every time.

Thankfully safety gear is the best it has ever been and is getting better all the time, after a while I get used to wearing all of the equipment, if I ever get lax and don’t want to or forget because I am in a hurry, one small accident will solve that, whether it is slag in the eye or a burn.

First lessons learned: Safety, Setup and Comfort.

Live dangerously in a small Village

The title might insight you to think of the bygone days of youth when you were free spirited and did not think about the consequences of your choices or actions.

The phrase was spoken to me as I crossed the fancy intersection at No. 1 Road and Moncton. It was just the two of us there, even though there are eight different ways to cross we just happened to be crossing on the same side at a specific moment. He was a ‘come from away’ or cfa as they say in Nfld. Not of the Vil, just a visitor. He had a favorite cafe that he frequented and now he was crossing on the red hand, before the white man appeared.

I hesitated. Looking at the lights, the corners, the myriad ways before me of crossing one of my favorite intersections.

“Oh go on, he said, live dangerously” “Yes …. yes in a small Village!” I chimed in. We laughed and wished each other a good day

It got me thinking about living dangerously.

To look at a stranger, greet someone whom you don’t know with a smile, or look a person straight in the eye and say, hello, how are you, really, tell me. This isn’t living dangerously, or is it? It is a common occurrance, a kindness given.

ImageOn the subject of welding, I came to the conclusion that although it is ‘dangerous’ as a job and pursuit, I put it on the same level as mothering and caring about people. I think to live dangerously is to care about people since it requires the most from us.

I am learning the only way to make a good join that is industructible is to pay close attention to every angle, to the placement of the weld bead, travel speed and correct amp temperature coupled with a immense steady patience that gives you enough time to run the length of the rod into the metal are some key components. I make parellels between the two realms for the reason that I know about mothering and caring for people.

I see a similarity where the inherent commitment involved in bearing and caring for a family like learning the trade of welding, is nothing short of life threatening and unpredictable.

A film that portrays this well and is worth viewing at least twice — the second time with the Director’s comments, is Ron Howard‘s, Cinderella Man based on the true story of the famous boxer and family man James R. Braddock, it is truly a remarkable story which gave me hope and inspiration in these last weeks. Happy Canada Day to you, your family and those you care for in your community. ~e

Laser welding vs spot welding

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™.

Pile o’ aluminum

Aluminum bin at Action Welding

The calming affect of light

Not in any particular order I am almost finished reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coehlo, while waiting for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson to come out in paperback.

Out on the coffee table is Metropolis (original short stories) Edited by John Scalzi, I read The Red in the Sky is our Blood by Elizabeth Bear an interesting primer to the film I saw the last week, The Greenhorns. Last but not least Captive by Donalda J. Reid, oh…. and I might have another go at The Life of Pi by Yann Martel because Colin Wright of ‘Blue Canoe and Galiano Island Inn Fame’, highly recommends it and because I am partial to Tigers, Ligers and Lions—well cats in general!

I put books out hoping to pick them up in between working at two jobs and being with my boys. Add to this my modules on welding and I have my reading list for the rainy days ahead.

I am telling you the truth when I write that often the sky out here is looking like a painting by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1881).

I chose this one, The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up painted in 1838 since it reminds me of industry that goes on out here (Steveston, on the Fraser River) everyday.

Earlier this week, I was very excited to hear the news of Seaspan winning the $8 billion dollar contract to revitalize BC’s shipping industry. I am quietly hoping that there will be a place for me to weld too. Weather I work as a union or non-union welder, I am thinking there will be a few more women who will have their work cut out for them weather it be aluminum or steel.

Though I haven’t seen any battle ships lately a few months back the tall ships were in town for a three-day weekend and it was a dramatic display from my studio balcony.

I quickly sketched out with chalk pastel my view of the ships from the balcony. It was romantic moment and in the early days of summer when the air is warm and inviting —plein air, which always feels such a luxury and something I have yet to enjoy more of.

Continuing on with View from Studio 217 VI. What drew me to the place I live is the light, the south east-west exposure and the spectacular changing face of Garry Point.

On this rainy October day the greens are greener and the snow geese come and go flying their familiar formation while  each day, Oliver at Action Welding, runs out to watch while Jim and I smile at his childlike joy of seeing the birds that remind him of his homeland.