Metal is fun indeed, but she is an all consuming mistress. I can't even stress how stressed I am. Come to think of it I don't remember a time when I wasn't stressed.... nor do I remember a time when I wasn't working with metal (interesting...). Metal is pretty much all I know. Sure I can draw and clay model and make plaster molds (albeit poorly) but metal is no longer a material for me it's just a constant. Metal is pain and pleasure, it's work and it's distraction, it's freedom and confinement, Metal just is. Apart from maybe women and sports metal is pretty much all I think about (oh and food on occasion).
Maybe it's the artists temperament which keeps work constantly on my mind. Even when I try to relax or when something forces me to end my day early I am still constantly plagued by thoughts of what I could or should be doing. It's silly though, I know it is. I can't work all day, especially not in the metal industry. This shit is heavy, I can't just pick up a sculpture and fix that little obtrusive weld on the underside. It's grunt work out there, but I'm a sucker for it. I am enraptured by the ultraviolet arc of a welding machine or the blue flame of a cutting torch, even the smell of the air-born particles given off by a flap disc sanding wheel brings a smile to my face.
Oh yeah, I've had injuries. I try my hardest to avoid 'em and I've been pretty lucky, but I've had my share. I dug a deep trench into my thumb with a grinding machine, I've cut half my knuckle off with a chipping hammer (more an act of stupidity than metalworking but I mention it regardless), I've burnt a line across my palm from a freshly forged piece of steel, I've had globs of liquid hot slag fall into my shoe creating quarter sized marks which turn red in the shower to this day, I've had incredible sun burn in the form of welders tan from the ultraviolet rays created by the arc hitting my exposed forearms, I've felt the feeling of sand being thrown in my eyes from catching one too many glimpses at aforemetioned arc... oh and lets not forget the numerous objects of clothing burnt to complete and utter worthlessness. All the marks and burns and blackened cuts on the heat-weathered skin of my hands have become like a badge for me, similar to the way a wrestler might show off his deformed cauliflower-ear. And the funny thing is, I really can't even join in to those "hey check out this scar conversations". My hands and arms don't actually scar. Sure at all times I have some raw pink flesh or a large scab but it usually blends in with the rest of my reasonably fresh cuts and bruises that I can't really place exactly where each one comes from and on the rare occasion I can place it, it usually means it was due to some act of overt stupidity that I'd rather not share.
But when it comes down to it metal is sharp, heavy, hot, grueling, labor intensive, time consuming medium. Suffice to say I'm usually exhausted and hurting.