(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Patrick Andrews, PSA Custom Creations)
Learning how to weld underwater might not be the traditional start of a fabricator or artist, but that was the route I took. As a U.S. Army engineer diver, I frequently worked in rather interesting conditions, but this only helped me to develop a greater ability to accomplish my work with the items and tools at hand.
Much of my art is made by recycling or re-purposing material. When I look at a piece of material, I try to see not what it is, but what it can become. I started out making bells and art with nothing more than an idea, a dry cut saw, and a MIG welder. To acquire more scuba tanks and cylinders, I have travelled to dive shops and scrap yards from Washington, DC, to Norfolk, Virginia, and many shops in-between. I also have received many cylinders from people that I meet at craft shows who want to re-purpose a tank rather than throw it away.
I have been able to sell quite a bit of my art online at Etsy, and a few pieces on CustomMade.com and Amazon Handmade. A little more than half of my sales so far have been at arts and craft shows and through word of mouth. These first years have allowed me to improve my techniques, develop my unique style and decide on the market niche that I am trying to fill.
During the last five years, I have poured nearly all of my profits back into my shop to acquire more tools. My tools now range from a large 1947 DoAll vertical bandsaw to a lathe, Bridgeport mill, 16-gauge stomp shear, slip roller, and two years ago, I purchased a new TIG welder. I have used online auctions, Craigslist and word of mouth to get to the point where I am close to having the set up that I want. A company like HGR helps me to target the specific tools I now want.
Time management is very important to me. When I’m not working at my full-time government job or making a piece of art, I manage my business. Like many one-person businesses, the time I spend in the shop working on a new project is only half of what I spend on this business. Managing online inventory, updating my website, creating videos, bookkeeping, attending art shows, etc, all bite into the time I have left.
See more at www.psacustomcreations.com.