Ellwood City, Pa., welder Rene Baldwin creates art and furniture out of used horseshoes from her husband’s farrier work.
According to the Ellwood City Ledger, she has made a wide variety of pieces — from furniture to lawn ornaments.
Baldwin attended the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio, where she was the only female student. She went on to work at a boilermaker factory in Erie, Pa., before traveling as an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers welder.
At a horse show, she met her husband Jamie Schuller, an Ellwood City farrier.
“Jamie and I both have labor intensive jobs and we love it,” Baldwin says.
In the winter months when she cannot weld, she stays busy by shooting rifles competitively and quilting.
“The things I do — welding, shooting and quilting — are all solitary, and I’m comfortable with that,” she says.
At the request of a local contractor, she created an outdoor couch entirely out of horseshoes. For another local, she made an unusual yard flower. For her own lawn, she crafted a statue of a saddle.
Her most popular item is a collection of shoes shaped into the word “love” — and this is how she feels about what she does.
“I have the equipment, the knowledge and lots of horseshoes and I enjoy creating custom pieces,” she says. “It’s a gift. It comes naturally to me.”
Although the American Welding Society states that only 5.8% of welders are women, Baldwin considers her path a logical one.
“When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I didn’t want to go into debt for an education,” she says. “I was always interested in art and I was always tinkering with something, so I knew I wanted a hands-on job.”