Chelsea Darling: Fired and Inspired

October 26, 2011 in Inspiration by

It’s no news that we’re going through some less-than-fantastic economic times right now, and as a result, layoffs are the new black. For some, losing a job may be cause for serious devastation. But for others – like bright-eyed Atlanta maker Chelsea Darling – unemployment is being used as an opportunity to cultivate creative passions. In this case, the passion is metalworking.

When Chelsea lost her graphic design job in early July, she immediately set out to volunteer on various art projects.  It was through this stream of volunteerism that she was given the contact of local metal artist Corinna Mensoff. A message was left and later returned, and before she knew it, Chelsea was apprenticing in metalworks under both Corinna and Mark Hopper, another local artist who, like Corinna, practices at the Goat Farm. Now Chelsea spends three days each week apprenticing under these two artists, honing her skills in metal makery and manipulation.

In Phoenix Metalworks, looking for something

Chelsea with her first flame cannon.

But it’s not like Chelsea wasn’t making her way as a maker *before* the whole losing-her-job thing. Fascinated by fire – you may have seen her spinning poi at any number of Imperial Opa events – she registered for this year’s Flame Effects workshop, held at Charlie Smith’s Sparselands Studio in the Candler-Smith warehouses. There, she built what she calls “the cutest little flame cannon you’ve ever seen.” Since then, she’s swapped parts to make “a slightly larger and more imposing” flame cannon, which was used to roast marshmallows at this year’s Transformus. Other Burn-related projects have included a Banksy-inspired raining umbrella for Burning Man and Switch Sculpture, a series of small pieces involving knobs, toggles, and pretty lights created for Alchemy.

Switchsculpture – a small pyramid of buttons and glowy lights. Preeetty!

“It does a thing. I like things that do things,” she says of the sculpture, flashing her heart-meltable grin. Who knows what thing-that-does-a-thing she will inspire us with next — something tells me it will be metally and/or fiery.


Want to see some of the pieces Chelsea has been assisting with? Check out Corinna’s opening reception for her new body of work, Flowing as Water.

Nov. 5, 6-10pm
The Goat Farm
1200 Foster Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30310


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