Deerfield woman welds metal into art
Deerfield artist Trisha Moody-Bourbeau stands with the dragon she created for a customer by welding together tools and other scrap metal.
Deerfield welder Trisha Moody-Bourbeau with her metal dragon sculpture
DEERFIELD — On her River Road property, Trisha Moody-Bourbeau’s lawn is covered with axes, farm tools, railroad spikes, shovels and chain saw parts that, when assembled artistically, appear as giant skeletons, galloping horses and fluttering butterflies.
Bourbeau, 43, is a metal sculptor, transforming old tools and scrap metal into astonishing designs.
Moody-Bourbeau first learned of metal sculpting from her brother, Rich Moody and his girlfriend Jessica Denehy, who recently began creating sculptures out of metal.
Moody-Bourbeau admired the art, and last year the three teamed up to create a metal sculpture dinosaur for the Deerfield crafts fair. Afterward, Moody-Bourbeau started selling small pieces at her hair studio.
Moody-Bourbeau is a hair stylist by profession but artist by passion. She works 30 hours a week in the hair salon and reserves two days for metal sculpting.
As a child, Moody-Bourbeau dreamed of being an artist, but she eventually became a hairdresser.
She first learned to weld as a teenager from her father, who owns Moody Machine, a metal working shop. Although Moody-Bourbeau was a natural at welding, she did not pursue it further due to the work’s searing hot temperatures.
“I never thought in a million years, I’d be using (welding) as an artistic genre,” Moody-Bourbeau said.
When she saw her brother’s work, she wanted to give it a try.
“I felt like I needed to nurture that part of me,” Moody-Bourbeau said. “When my brother and his girlfriend started doing it, it was like something that clicked. I never felt this way about any arts I’ve done. When I go to work on a piece, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it.”
Moody-Bourbeau learned the craft on her own. She can’t explain how she knows how to construct the figures.
“No one taught me. It’s something I channel when I’m out there,” Moody-Bourbeau said.
Moody-Bourbeau creates the sculptures with scrap metal and old tools from axes to wrenches to saw blades.
Moody-Bourbeau begins with a sketch of the figure and decides what interior structure should be used to support it. Commonly, she uses rebar steel rods or a thicker rod.
Across the street from her hair studio, Moody-Bourbeau forges the metal into shapes at Moody Machine. She starts with a matrix that will hold all the parts and begins filling in the places.
Working with hot flame and burning metal, Moody-Bourbeau said welders need to be careful all the time.
So far, she’s created small dogs and large birds out of pitchforks and angels from silverware.
But Moody-Bourbeau really enjoys the bigger art projects.
“I enjoy the challenge of making it look like the thing you’re trying to make,” Moody-Bourbeau said.
Moody-Bourbeau’s first large piece was a skeleton that stands on her front lawn. Next, she challenged herself to create a horse for a winter project. The project took her six months to complete.
Driving by her home in August, a Montague couple first noticed the large skeleton. They then commissioned her to create a large dragon. Every weekend, the couple brought her a car load of parts to use.
Moody-Bourbeau spent three days a week on the project, which incorporated 500 individual pieces. It was her favorite piece.
As a burgeoning artist, Moody-Bourbeau would like to enter her pieces into art shows. Her next project is likely a large angel.
You can reach Kathleen McKiernan:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.