While the Clarke School District schedule called for a day off for students and teachers on Friday, over two dozen dedicated Industrial Arts students, their instructor, Mr. Lyden, local manufacturing mentors, and other professionals gathered early at Clarke’s Industrial Arts department doors to kick off the final day of Clarke’s first annual Welding Arts Sculpture Competition.

After weeks of creative planning and brainstorming, Friday was to be a day of “all hands on deck” creative development and education while the students and their mentors welded together their artistic pieces from found and donated materials.

Click through the gallery below to see full-sized images some of the day’s activities in your browser.

“This event has really shown the excitement our students have for the industrial arts,” said Lyden as he helped bend a sheet of metal for one of the projects. “Their weeks of dedication and creative vision has been nothing less than impressive.”

Local manufacturers Miller Products Company, Salford, Altec, Iowa Steel, and Hormel volunteered manufacturing professionals as mentors and committed time to help the students bring their artistic visions to life. From design and creative development to hands-on welding and fabrication direction, the involvement from local businesses made a tremendous impact on the event.

Materials used for the competition ranged from miscellaneous manufacturing scrap to donated sheets of metal, rebar, steel rods and even some discarded ironing boards and found elements. From there, five teams of students and their mentors brought together the pieces, cut, ground, bent, welded, and sculpted pieces of art ranging from an elegant hawk in flight to multi-piece nature scenes as well as a frightening tank-like scorpion.

“The quality of these student pieces is awe-inspiring,” said Osceola Arts Council board member Mary Ellen Kimble. “I’m excited to see these on display for the public to enjoy.”

Click the final sculpture images below to open full-size in your browser.

After over six hours of welding and fabrication, the day’s events wound down to a group presentation and judging of the art pieces by members of the Osceola Arts Council and the Clarke County Development Corporation. All students in the competition took home prizes ranging from welding helmets and gear to the tools necessary to grow and flourish in the trade.

CCDC’s Executive Director, Bill Trickey, said “One of the goals of this effort was to increase student awareness of the careers that are available in the Industrial trades. The matching of students and mentors is an important part of that effort.”

The winning sculpture, “Hawk in Flight” produced by the group guided by Iowa Steel, will be put on display at the winning mentor’s place of business. Second place was awarded to Salford group’s life-size buck and windmill combination. And third place was awarded to the Altec group’s tank-like Scorpion. Each of the sculptures created in the event will be sandblasted, finished for final exhibit and put on display at the school or around the community depending on space and availability.

“With the help from the Development Corporation, the Industrial Arts Advisory Board and all of the volunteers, we think this event was a tremendous success,” said Mr. Lyden. “Based on today’s success, we see future competitions being even bigger and better!”

For more information on the Industrial Arts Advisory Board, the Industrial Arts Sculpture Competition or where the student sculptures can be seen, please contact Mr. Lyden, Industrial Arts Instructor at Clarke Community Schools at 641-342-6505.