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The Art of Resonation: Welder Rustin Sparks makes bells from scrap metal

NORMAN, Okla. - No longer good for its original purpose, most people throw away the rings and rods, odds and ends to melt them down, to start over.

"It's not an easy process," welder/artist Rustin Sparks said.

Sparks does apply some heat to his scrap, but he saves the shapes of metal, especially the old gas canisters.

"There's not a whole lot that's cosmetic about them," he said.

Believe it or not, Sparks is kind of new to welding.

He used to manage a big office.

He worked in construction for a while and a lab, too.

"I recycled myself," he said.

Sparks had to teach himself the basics but, as he got better, something about molding metal resonated with him quite literally.

"You have to be able to make something new out of what you had," Rustin said. "Because, it doesn't matter what it is, you're not going to have it anymore."

He saw his first crude bell years ago.

His first try looked good anyway.

Sparks laughs and said "It sounded terrible. It sounded like I was beating the side of a car."

It's not an umbrella holder outside his front door.

But, Sparks kept flying.

He made a study of resonating and, pretty soon, his bells started ringing true.

"If it resonates with you, it doesn't matter what it looks like," Sparks said.

The Stash in Norman is where most of his creations go.

They hand for sale outside where some people just look, others listen.

If it resonates, you feel it go deeper than just your ears.

True with bells and with the experiences you have in life.

The longer it rings, the better it is.

You can find Rustin Sparks bells at the Stash on Main Street in Norman or on his Facebook page.