Earlier this month I had to pleasure of coming back to one of my favorite cities, Austin, Tx, with one of my favorite interior decor brands, West Elm! I was so excited to roll up my sleeves and get my hands a little dirty as we’d be Art Welding with one of Austin’s most renowned designers & welder! As woodshop or metal shop classes aren’t offered in high schools today like it was for our parents, when else would I get a chance to weld and create something with metal! Our West Elm Experience took us to Austin, Texas where we took a whack at Art Welding with renowned designer, welder, and artist Jack Sanders. Jack owns a studio called Design Build Adventure that’s about 20 minutes outside of the city. It almost functions more like a camp and creative playground than a typical studio. The grounds host a lodge, baseball diamond, and a creative scrapyard. Jack trained us on the basics of metalwork and welding – the major power tools and how to implement them into the design process. We took a stroll through the scrapyard for inspiration, looking for items and scraps that might catch our eye and spark an idea. Once our items were selected we sat down with pen and paper to sketch our designs. Whatever I was going to craft, I wanted it to have some type of function – I didn’t just want to create a paperweight or something that would just sit there. As I came across a circular tray, the idea of a Lazy Susan caught my mind – and how perfectly southern is that! I ended up welding a circular piece to the bottom of the trey and inserted it into a ring fixed on the table to spin. It was so great working with Jack and the team to try and tackle the challenge of creating what I had envisioned on paper and bringing it to life! After the welding projects were complete, we enjoyed margaritas with chips + guac — and my lazy susan came in handy real quick! A proper Texas BBQ dinner followed with cold beers a campfire and some guitars. It was the perfect end to a creative and bonding day!
The West Elm Experiences reflect West Elm’s commitment to investing back in local artists and the community. Besides this Art Welding experience in Austin, West Elm offers four other unique experiences, from New York to Georiga. Customers can purchase these experiences for around $130 per session and are running now through mid-May. If you’re in one of these cities or happen to be traveling to one of them soon, definitely check them out as they offer an artistic and immersive opportunity that’s hard to beat! Every time I find myself in Austin I’m typically staying with a friend, and I’ve been dying to Stay at the South Congress Hotel. I finally got the chance and fell in love with the boutique hotel! the design of the communal spaces and rooms was impeccable. They’re each filled with curated vintage mid-century pieces and reflect the city of Austin so well. In the lobby is a bar and work area that is connected to the beautifully delicious Café No Sé. I recommend the avocado toast for breakfast and the quinoa bowl along with their coffee! The first day we were there it was partly rainy and we didn’t get to take advantage of the pool, but on Friday the clouds parted and I got to spend the afternoon on their rooftop pool. It’ll be a must-hit every time I’m back in Austin now. Have y’all stayed at SoCo Hotel yet? Let me know your thoughts! Hang tight – a long overdue City Guide for Austin is coming soon!