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Lewisburg, West Virginia
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December 10, 2011     Mountain Messenger
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2B - Mountain Messenger- December 17, 2011 -The Weekend Paper For The Greenbrier Valley 1- Abel Nobel and Teacher Donovan Rhodes standing with metal skeleton. By PeggY Mackenzie "It's kind of like modeling clay. You mash it and pull it and even stomp on it until you come up with something you like and want to show off." Those are the words of Abel Nobel, a student at the Weld- ing Center, an arm of the New River Community College and Technical School (NRCCTS). Nobel took a welding class as a part of his Fine Arts degree and is the first art student at the school to enroll in a weld- ing class. "We have our students punch a time clock and in every way attempt to create real working conditions,,' he said. By way of demonstration, Rhodes points to a three-story open-beamed structure behind the center some kind of skeleton. Even as I was building this goliath I was changing my plans for it every day." Rhodes makes the class a fun environment and made time for each student. "He The Artist sitting in his chair. Located on Hofnaggle Road, the Welding Center is a large metal structure filled with machinery for every kind of welding purpose. The primary welding instructor, Donovan Rhodes says the center is the only accredited welding school in West Virginia and Virginia, and serves metalworkers of all kinds, from creative artist types to those seeking cer- tification as a skilled profes- sional welder for employment anywhere in the world to those needing re-certification and re-training to sharpen up their existing skills. Welding is not a one type fits all skill, Rhodes says. The school offers classes in every capacity, from pipe fit- ting, pipe welding, structural welding, auto cad, technical math, manual machine shop, and CNC machining (which uses a computer to calculate). Two additional instructors, Sean Davies and Bill Gra- ham, who, like Rhodes, teach "real world" welding to the one hundred or so students who go through the school each semester. "Real world" means students are taught how to practice their new skills under conditions that can include cold, wet, or windy weather in (sometimes) elevated places. SciFi Eggshell Chair created by Abel Nobel. which had been built by pre- vious students. Rhodes says he has his students climb out on the beams to practice what it's like welding in an actual working situation. "When l joined the welding class I Started off with the ba- sics just like everybody else," Nobel said. "I covered blocks of metal with running beads over and over." That's the first thing to learn in welding - how to create a consistent bead. But, Nobel said, Rhodes soon cut him loose. "See what you can create out of this bin of scrap metal," Rhodes had said. Nobel's eyes got big and "my excitement raged," he said. "I jumped right into an idea of creating gave me free will to use any machine and any tool to cre- ate something. That's what I did," Nobel enthused. "I cre- ated a seven foot tall skel- eton playing a rather large bass guitar. It took me eight classes (30 hours) to finish the skeleton, and three more to finish an eggshell chair. I hope to sell and display my work locally." Enrollment for the Spring Semester for classes at the Welding Center, as part of NRCCTS, starts on Jan. 17. Call for information at 304- 647-6560. For pricing in- formation on his sculptures or questions for Abel Nobel, please call him at 304-661- 4773 or 805-540-9612. iiiiii!iiiiiiiii~: Technical colleqe For Spring Semester Classes begin January 17th GREENBRIER VALLEY CAMPUS www.mountainmessenger.com