Barbie welding a hobby into a successful career

Local News

ERIN, N.Y. (WETM) ⁠— Barbie is moving from her perfect Barbie World and welding her way to Upstate New York. It all started with the movie “Cast Away” when Barbie Parsons saw a character welding.

“I saw this woman and she’s sculpting this giant metal angel wings,” said Parsons. “There’s sparks going everywhere and it just spoke to my soul.”

Parsons has been welding for 12 years and sculpting for five and a half years.

Parsons learned how to weld at Cameron Manufacturing, where she was able to perfect her skills. With those welding skills, Parsons taught herself how to be a sculptor.

Many weld metal for a hobby; but for Parsons, it changed everything.

“12 years ago I was on welfare and could not afford to take care of my family financially, through choices of my own,” said Parsons. “It was so bad that I actually had a food bank to help provide for my sons and welding has changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to provide for my sons in a way that a parent wants to provide for their kids.”

Parsons said that everything is the complete opposite today, compared to how it was.

Her first piece ever created was a three-tier-chandelier which took 40 hours to make. Parson was able to sell the sculpture for profit a year later.

She also created two sculptures for Harley Davidson, one for Mill Welders⁠—which was created live in Las Vegas at SEMA⁠—and many more. On Feb. 19, Parsons was a live guest for NBC’s Today Show in New York City.

“The Today Show was amazing. I got the opportunity to go on there because I’ve been working with a company on a campaign that is Rosie Reborn,” Parsons said. “The clothing company has partnered with cotton incorporated and they’ve taken material from the original 1940s Rosie jumpsuit and actually incorporated it into these jumpsuits that people have searched online and they found people to embodied Rosie today and I was one of the people chosen.”

Parsons plans to continue sculpting and wants to make large scale public art installations. To see more work from her, click here.

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