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Welding instructor uses talent for art

When Tom Stage looks at a pile of scrap metal, he doesn’t see it heading to some recycling site. He sees it taking shape as a piece of art.

Stage, who teaches welding at OTC, has been dabbling in metal art for many years, sharing his work with family and friends. Now, he’s branching out and offering his work for sale.

“People seem to want to buy the stuff. I’ve been trying to get into an art sale like the First Friday Art Walk,” he said.

Stage has been a professional welder for 30 years and has been teaching at OTC for more than four. He calls his form of art “Green Art” because he uses recycled material.

“It relaxes me. Instead of watching TV, I work on my art. I like to see what I can make out of a piece of junk or a scrap of something. Sometimes they turn out good, sometimes not so good,” he said.

Most of Stage’s pieces are small, which he likes doing the most. He loves making various flowers and roses.

“The ‘Forever Flowers’ are just one of the many flowers I do. All of the yard art, planter’s, lighting, wall hangings, mini-metal sculptures and a lot of other recycled pieces are about to overcome the house and garage,” he said.

Surprisingly, Stage admits that he can’t draw a thing but “I can form objects through the vision I get in my head.”

His students have taken notice of his work, and now some are enrolling in his class for the art aspects of what he does.

Melanie Mills, an artist, is in Stage’s welding class and took it to apply what she learns to her art.

“He taught me all the basics of welding and how to fine tune stuff. I love sculpting and this class will make me a better artist,” she said.

Stage said he likes to devote Friday classes to showing students the artistic range welding has.

“I want to show them that Im not just a welding instructor but someone who likes art. I’m able to show them my techniques and I think they enjoy that,” he said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations for Ozarks Technical Community College.


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Media Relations

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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