10671333_10152278589441526_9007446518689845717_n (1)For our very first Dabble Talks: Denver interview, we sat down with Nick Geurts, a veteran welder that’s taught with Dabble for almost 3 years now. He’s created many fascinating works and taught dozens and dozens of students. We wanted to know all the how’s, why’s, just because’s, and what inspired him to start shaping metal at Gammaspace.

You took up welding 7 years ago – what sparked your interest? A project in mind or simply a burning (pun intended) desire to play with really hot metals?

I didn’t really have a specific project in mind.  Being a structural engineer I think I mentioned to my boss in passing that it would be cool to learn how to weld. He ended up getting me a welder (the same one I still use!) as a Christmas present that year.

 So metalworking isn’t your full time job?

Nope, my love of metalworking started as a hobby – my first project was a fire pit grate for our backyard.  My projects got bigger and bigger until this past year when I received an art grant from Burning Man to build a 20ft tall, interactive, stainless steel musical tree.  The tree is currently on display in downtown Denver at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

 What’s the coolest piece of work you’ve created?

The tree for sure, I’ve also created a whole bunch of metal pieces as gifts over the years.

Any plans for a Burning Man reappearance this year?

Yes!  I’ve become addicted to large-scale interactive public metal art.  I currently have an application in for Tree #2, which will be a similar concept but the piano will play steel drums instead of the steel bell chimes.

 Welding in a shared art space, Gammaspace, have you collaborated with any fellow artists there?

Yes, this has been one of the more amazing facets of the whole Burning Man art experience.  The art grant only funds the cost of materials and I’ve been amazed at how many people are willing to offer their time and skills to be a part of an interesting piece of art.  It also gives the art much more meaning to me when it is a labor of love and there is no monetary gain involved.

 You seem to have a knack for teaching. What got you started in the first place?

Well, I’m not sure about that.  I think a lot of it has to do with students genuinely wanting to learn a new skill.  I just keep it basic and relaxed and try to make it a fun experience.  I wanted to share my skills because I think that is what we should all do.  Dabble is the perfect platform for that.

You’ve introduced so many Denverites to welding and plasma cutting since 2012 (395 to be exact!). Does it come as a shock that nearly every class sells out?

Like I said, I think people are just really excited to learn new skills.  I guess I’ll retire when everyone in Denver knows how to weld!

Any memories stand out worth sharing?

This may not be a G-rated story but for my Welding Basics class we discuss weld penetration, or how deep the “melting” of the two pieces of metal goes.  When I first started my class I just referred to it as “penetration” and one couple attending my class started giggling, resulting in the whole class laughing hysterically for about 5 minutes.  Since then I refer to it as “weld penetration” and it seems to go over better.

What’s your best piece of advice?

Teachers – From my experience, my best advice is to keep it simple and keep class sizes to a manageable level so you don’t have too many people standing around.

Future welders of the world –  Practice, Practice, Practice!