Local craftsman welds discarded objects with art

Jereme Westfall, owner and artist of Work of Arc Welding, prides himself on breathing new life into discarded objects.
A damaged cello Westfall purchased from a music store, for example, is now a lighted sculpture complete with ribbed metal wings. The instrument can no longer play a beautiful concerto, but it's still lovely to behold, says its owner.
From his workshop at Steelyard Commons, Westfall also welds a unique identity onto working lamps, clocks, shelving, fountains and wall hangings. Primarily focused on metals, the arts-centric entrepreneur "upcycles" junk into works he sells at gallery shows or on his Etsy site.
Jereme Westfall and wife Lynn 
"I take garbage and instead of recycling it to its original form, I'm turning it into something that still has a use," says Westfall, 39. "I've got a basement filled with valves, springs and other stuff that inspires me."
Hard work comes at cost for customers, although some pieces can be had at lower prices than others. Westfall's cello sculpture, a product of 100 man hours and $500 in materials, sells for $3,100, while his lamps run from $320-$355. More affordable offerings include business card holders built from transmission gears, which are $35 each.  
Westfall opened his studio a year ago after receiving certification from the Lincoln Electric Welding School. Creating functional art full time wasn't his first thought upon entering the industry, however.
"I worked as a welder for awhile, then decided I wanted to make my own rules," Westfall says. "I started making my own stuff, went to some art shows, and things took off from there."
Westfall's steampunk/industrial style lends itself to rustic spaces or the average man cave, he notes. The Medina native tries to add something quirky to each piece, like a valve that acts as a dimmer for a lamp.
Going into 2017, Work of Arc has several months of back orders to fill, among them a conference table repurposed for an area diamond broker. The business is also busy showing its regional pride through Cavaliers and Ohio State metal wall art pieces.

As long as folks keep buying, Westfall is happy to continue making something out of nothing.

"The biggest thing for me is to be flexible," says Westfall. "I like doing a wide range of pieces rather than just one thing over and over again. There's such a wide variety, I never get bored."

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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