Welding and Roller Derby?!? Yep! The sport has proven to be a strong source of inspiration for yet another unique profession through the work of Sarah Coleshaw, aka Curb Stompin’ Coleshaw, of Saskatoon Roller Derby League, who recently debuted her new roller skate decorations at the Roll Up the Scrim to Win Invitational hosted by Plap City Rollers in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba this past January 18th. “It was exciting but nerve-racking,” explained Curb. “When you create a work of art it becomes personal, it’s special and private. So, when you share it with an audience it makes you feel really vulnerable; not knowing how people are going to react, being unsure of yourself and your abilities.” These tensions were quickly alleviated for Curb when she found herself scrambling to keep the decorations displayed at her booth as people were buying them as soon as she hung one up. “I ended up selling about half my stock I brought with me, which is definitely a success! I didn’t know how people would react or respond to them. But the response was overwhelmingly positive!”
Curb believes in reducing, reusing and recycling when it comes to producing wares for her business. She used scrap pieces of sheet metal to cut the roller skates out on a CNC Plasma Cutter Table that her father and she has in their welding shop at home. They were then placed into a tumbler, a machine that rolls the skates around with sand and other pieces of metal to clean the dross (impurities) off. Each piece was then cleaned with monolithic and phosphoric acid. The monolithic acid takes away dirt and grime while the phosphoric acid acts as an anti-rust coating. During the final steps she polishes them, cleans off any remaining dirt or dust with rubbing alcohol then bakes them in the oven to make them change color. “When you heat up shiny steel around 400 degrees it starts to turn colors, like bronze, blues, purples, and yellows. To finish, they get clear-coated and laced with metallic ribbon.”
Curb is apprenticed under her father, who owns CJ’s Welding, and she one day hope to run the family business alongside him. She has been working in the shop with her dad since she was fifteen years old and is now currently in the middle of the Pre-Employment Welding Program at the SIAST Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon. The Curb Shop began about 6-months ago when she started to do scrap metal art and custom projects on the side. “I would Instagram them using the hashtag #curbshop, because it sounded like workshop. And it just sort of stuck.” At only 22-years-old, before entering the Welding Program at SIAST, Curb was working retail and looking for a career path. “I am artistic and like working with my hands, and university wasn’t for me. So, I took a career aptitude test from SIAST online and welder was one of the items on my list. I applied for three different programs, but welding really had me excited when I got my acceptance letter. As soon as I had the letter in my hand, I picked my fate and it was sealed. I am now a third generation welder and I couldn’t be happier to be on the path to a successful career.”
Having played roller derby for over 3-years now, Curb is thrilled to finally have a way to combine her two passions and she feels incredibly fortunate to have so many supporters. “I couldn’t do any of my passions without the support of my family, blood and derby. They are my support system, and I appreciate all that you do for me. Especially my dad, that has taught me so much and helped me tremendously in all my endeavors. He’s my partner and my friend. Thank you.”
If you’d like to get in contact with Curb about custom projects, or to buy skate decorations for yourself, you can either leave her a message on her Facebook page, contact CJ’s Welding: The Curb Shop, or shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. “To put it simply, we can make anything. You name it, we can weld it!”
Let the sparks fly!