Artist & Founder, Kelly Ludeking, was first exposed to it in college where he had a mentor that encouraged exploration into mediums unknown.
This mentor was an internationally recognized fabricator of large-scale monumental sculpture. Foundry was not his niche but his investment in his foundry-curious students lead them all down an ever-stretching road to discovery.
Today, there is deep homage to this mentor in Kelly’s work with others. This professor fostered creativity not just in aesthetics as an artist but also in paving a new way forward into processes unknown.
If you are interested in exploring processes unknown to you with an instructor who remembers beginner’s mind, link to learn about attending an iron foundry workshop!
Kelly R Ludeking
KRL METALS ART STUDIO FOUNDER, EDUCATOR & ARTIST
Did you know my middle initial, the meat in the sandwich of KRL, stands for Renaissance? It doesn’t, actually, but it might as well. This one word best sums up my approach to life as a sculptor, fabricator & metal arts instructor. I reimagine the use of materials in order to realize solutions to challenging goals or problems. I renew interest in metal both as an industrial staple that shapes the world around us as well as its artistic influence, reshaping the world within us. I reignite the spark of creativity, curiosity & ingenuity in my students, expanding their horizons to new possibilities within metal arts & industry.
Growing up on a midwestern dairy & hog farm created a very real need to invent & reinvent tools and repair machinery in order to keep our livelihood moving in the right direction. I spent so much time with animals & machinery that I began to see one in the other: a tractor seat becomes a face for a gargoyle sculpture; a fuel tank becomes the body for a life-sized elephant sculpture; a garbage shoot becomes the body for a bull dog sculpture.
These early years influenced me deeply. College introduced me to the possibility of becoming an artist. I never thought of myself as artistic because I couldn’t draw, paint or throw a pot. I was a musical artist as a drummer, but a visual artist seemed so far fetched until I embraced 3D arts, specifically metal. Subsequent decades in the prop industry and a variety of other odd jobs continued to influence my ever-growing library of skills. Years of training others in these various industry roles naturally lead to a desire to share my library of experience with others.
My mission is to share welded, melted & shaped metals with people like you! You wouldn’t still be here if you didn’t have a curiosity about foundry, blacksmithing, welding or maybe all three! I’m here to connect you with the experiences that will give you confidence in areas that have been calling to you.
A Historic Site
BORN AS A FOUNDRY IN 1890
After several years of searching for the ideal location in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the perfect spot found us in the last quarter of 2020. The historic limestone building we now call home originally came to life in the late 1800’s as a, wait for it…FOUNDRY!
The last several decades it was used for storage, but Kelly immediately saw the potential in the large empty space for gatherings around music, people & metal. KRL Metals Art Studio is honored to pick up the tradition of metal casting in this historic limestone building. Located in the West 7th Neighborhood, it was built to house an iron & brass foundry that largely supplied the booming railroad industry at the turn of the 20th century. It’s had many lives over the years, and we are thrilled to be renovating a portion of this building in order to share metal arts & fabrication with our neighbors & those willing to venture into our community for all the great things West 7th has to offer.