There’s a spark in Chris Thomas’s eye. Well—a whole lot of sparks, actually.
“It it’s metal, I’ve probably welded it,” says Thomas.
His love for metalwork began as a teenager on his grandfather’s farm. “One day I just asked if I could start welding,” he recalls. “And when they left and came back, I already had built something out of some old parts. I just fell in love with it from there.”
Thomas spent years wielding the torch in manufacturing settings—but several years ago he hung up the nine-to-five work in favor of a more creative approach: he founded Thomas Metal Art, and put a face to welding (literally).
“Most of the time you see them, it makes you smile,” he says. “So that’s why I like doing it.”
Before Thomas can create characters like this, he has to comb through mountains of forgotten metal at junk yards. “That’s the funnest part!” he says. “Going to the junkyard, digging through, finding things—yeah, I love doing that.”
Then it’s back to the garage to sort through his findings before turning on the fireworks.
“The more junk laying around, the better, because sometimes I’ll be almost done, but I can’t find the piece I’m looking for,” Thomas says. “That’s frustrating. Sometimes I’ll spend an hour looking for one little piece! I try not to do that anymore.”
It’s time well spent for Thomas—because those little parts become planters, pets, and perfect reminders that the old saying about trash and treasures is right on the money.
Chris Thomas is Someone You Should Know.
You can find Thomas’s work for sale at Susie Q’s Craft Emporium in Mandan. He also takes his creations to craft shows around the state.
Click here to visit the official Facebook page for Thomas Metal Art.