Welding Student to Bring Her Artistry to SkillsUSA State Competition

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TURNERS FALLS, MA – Welding and Metal Fabrication student Andria Ames is combining her love of literature and sculpture to create a work of art that she hopes will earn her a gold medal at this year’s SkillsUSA state competition.

The 16-year-old sophomore is writing a book with the working title of “Colors” and she is hard at work on a metal sculpture based on the book that she will enter into the competition.

“I’ve been writing for a couple of years,” Ames said. “I usually write short stories, but now I’m writing a book. I’m making a sculpture based on the first chapter of my book.”

Ames is still hard at work on the book and won’t give up too much of the plot, but she said the characters are based on the colors of the rainbow and they get together and go on an adventure. Their fates are intertwined and in the end they must decide to stay together or part ways.

Ames became interested in welding when she was exploring different shops as a freshman.

“Welding was the most fun for me,” she said. “There are a lot of things you can do with welding. Using different forms of welding you can create different things and textures. You can use different types of welding to make art.”

For the SkillsUSA competition, Ames is making a house and a backyard with a swing set. The sculpture will also have a fence, a tree, and in the background, a pet graveyard.

The district competition was held at Charles H. McCann Technical School in North Adams on March 13. Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Upton will host the state competition on April, 26, 27 and 28.

The national competition is held in June in Louisville, KY.

Ames won a gold medal at the SkillsUSA district competition which earned her the opportunity to compete at the state event. She said she’s “a little nervous” about the upcoming contest, but is going to be well-prepared.

“I’ll bring my project and a slide show of putting the project together, and then I’ll answer questions from the judges,” Ames said.

As for the future, Ames said she is thinking about welding sculpture as a career, as well as continuing as a writer and possibly drawing. One thing that she knows for sure is that she wants to continue expressing herself through her art.

“When you finish creating something you feel like you accomplished something,” Ames said. “It makes you feel great.”

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