Whether you call him creative or imaginative, craftsman or artisan, Dale Carter is a self-taught, and very skilled, metal artsmith in Orange.  Although he has been recognized as an artist only in the last 10 years, Carter has been perfecting his craft for nearly 30 years, slowly evolving his art from stick figures to abstract and realistic forms.

Carter, like many others, began a career in welding as a main source of income.  He used to work on projects with his step-grandfather, who noticed his artistic ability.  He then used that talent as a guide to welding metal into an assortment of shapes and forms, initially practicing in his backyard, and so began his learning process in 1976.

“I’ve always been intrigued with blacksmith work and manipulating molten metal,” says Carter. “Once I realized I could make shapes, the shapes became art.”

With an affinity for both metal sculpting and painting, Carter’s artistic talents translate onto various materials, from flat surfaces such as canvas and t-shirts to three-dimensional objects such bowling balls and even gourds.  He enjoys painting on abstract pieces more so than flat surfaces because “it’s interesting to see the effects of art on the dimensions of non-traditional items.”

This artsmith’s work is much more unique than other metal pieces, incorporating more detail that is pleasing to the eye and “rouses the imagination”; that being said, Carter describes himself as an “imaginator.”  His pieces are phenomenal, even mind-boggling; it’s a wonder how he makes such detailed forms.  For such an amazing talent, he is very modest in speaking about his skills. Of himself, Carter says he’s “creative.”

“I know I’m never good enough…I’ll always be my worst critic.  I’m constantly looking for ways to modify my work, and each piece gets better as I go along.  I’m just a dime a dozen, but what can you do with that dime?  How do you spend it?”

Carter puts his passion into his own business, Metal Magic Artweld, where he sells both original and replicated pieces of unique welded art, lawn art, and more.  He fabricates original forms from his mind’s eye, as well as reproduces requested images, including logos, seascapes, nature, and much more.  With most of his business gained via word-of-mouth, Carter has received many requests for art pieces.  However, he has become so popular that he is unable to keep his art in his shop; once people see his work, it pretty much sells itself.

Carter holds a great amount of pride in his work as both an artisan and instructor.  He has been an instructor at LSC-O for almost a year and a half.  As an instructor, he comments, “I get enjoyment out of the accomplishments of a person being introduced to this skill and saying to themselves, ‘I can do this.’”  As he reflects on his learnings over the span of his 30-year career, he adds, “I’m trying to give back to the community by training young welders to take my place someday.”

The course that Carter teaches, Metal Sculpting, falls under LSC-O’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development Department, which provides non-credit learning opportunities for the community and customized training programs to meet the needs of local business and industry. The department’s commitment is to provide student-learning opportunities to increase the knowledge and skills needed for current jobs and preparation for future career advancement.

The current non-credit welding program, which includes one course, has been offered since April 2007.  The course has proven successful, as the department is currently on the 17th class since the first class finished in June 2007.  In these 17 classes, LSC-O has had 231 people go through the program.

Carter’s Metal Sculpting class will meet on Monday nights, beginning September 8 at 5:30 p.m., and ending December 15.  It will be held at the Welding Center, located at 1207 Pier Rd.  The cost of the class is $395, which will include all materials.  Safety and welding equipment will also be provided.  Individuals should wear appropriate clothing, including firm-soled, closed-toe shoes, pants, and long-sleeve shirts (preferably heavy cotton or other natural fiber).

For more information on Dale Carter and LSC-O’s welding program, contact the Continuing Education and Workforce Development Department at (409) 882-3321 or continuinged@lsco.edu.