(WETM)- Meet Barbie the Welder, one of a very small group of women in welding. A group of about only less than 5%. But she can introduce herself.
“I’m a full-time metal sculptor. I’ve been welding for 15 years and got into welding in order to create sculpture that was a whole vision.” It’s taken her a long time to be able to do what she loves full-time. “Seven and a half years full time artists now which brings me just such great joy,” says Barbie.
In that journey she’s also written six books, teaching other people how to weld as well as inspirational and self-improvement books. Or as she says… “irreverent self-improvement books, but self-improvement books, nonetheless.”
She’s currently working on a sculpture that is a phoenix, she’s half woman, half phoenix. She actually is a self portrait. But this sculpture has been in the works for a while. Barbie says “I started her actually two years ago. Because I was blessed with all the commission’s I actually had to put her aside and she’s been sitting out in the driveway for two years.”
But that’s not all, the process has also taken a while because of her metamorphosis as an artist. Barbie explains, “as you grow as an artist, like you see things differently even from yesterday to today. Two years ago when I was making her when I started her. It was the absolute best that I could possibly do. But in two years, my goodness I’ve learned so much. And I just see it differently.”
Barbie shares a sneak peek of the vision of her sculpture titled ‘rise up’. She says, “this is like a representation of what she’s going to look like…woman except for without the legs. She’s going to have the tail feathers of a phoenix and that’s what these pipes are here.”
A phoenix is a sign of rebirth, which was an interesting choice for a self-portrait. Here is the reasoning behind her self-reflection. “I have dealt with depression all my life, anxiety, depression. I’ve gone through alcohol addiction, drug addiction. I have been homeless. I’ve been arrested more times I can count on one hand… Seems like another life. But welding has transformed me. It’s allowed me to transform myself and has given me self-confidence. And through that I have literally just rebuilt myself into a woman today. I deeply love myself and before… I literally spent a majority of my life just hating who I was.”
And Barbie believes this isn’t just her story, everyone has a takeaway. “It’s all of us sincerely because we all have stuff that we go through. We have challenges we have difficulties we just all have the ability to rise above who we are or what we’re going through and she represents that,” says Barbie.
She shares her story to inspire others to find hope and persevere. “It has brought me deep joy to show others that like just because this is who you are today, it doesn’t mean that to you have to be tomorrow. And that like we literally get to create and sculpt our life and we could do that we don’t need new years to start now.
Through the adversity Barbie grew up facing, she has come out on top. She explains, “I literally grew up like with the whole Disney era of like seeing these princesses being rescued by the princess and grew up believing that someone was going to come rescue me and it was through the welding it was through the art that I realized I am not a Disney princess. You know and no one’s coming to rescue me. It’s up to me to rescue my damn self. I have created my own queendom”
Next up for Barbie is a documentary being filmed about her and her sculpture. “They came out and did some filming. And that was when I first started her. And so the documentary is about how I built myself up how I’ve overcome the depression…very young mom, single parent, two boys, and how I’ve like rebuilt myself and they filmed the first half of that and will come out when she is done.
Barbie is excited for the future she now knows she has control of. “How incredible my life has become since I’ve taken control of it and I’ve made a decision to sculpt my own destiny,” says Barbie