Teenage self taught welder and former Burnley school pupil scoops award for turning scrap metal into art at prestigious show

A former Burnley school pupil, who taught herself welding, has scooped a prestigious title at the Royal Lancashire Show.

Sarah Mae Francis, who is only 19, was the winner of the best craft stall in homage to her skill of upcycling scrap metal into three dimensional art.

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To Sarah, a former student at Burnley High School, old car parts, springs and forks are art and she used waste and scrap metal to create intricate, three-dimensional animals, birds, flowers and even, on occasion, dragons.

Self taught welder Sarah Francis on Rusty, the full-sized horse she created from junk.

Scale is no object and Sarah’s favourite piece to date is Rusty, the full-sized horse lovingly created from otherwise jettisoned junk.

And ‘Lacey’ is an MG that’s been transformed by plasma cutting into a stunning piece that shows the complexity achievable when you combine industrial techniques with artistry.

Sarah's welding adventure began after she watched her mechanic dad throwing away a lot of broken car parts and tools.

She said: "This is when I thought it would be interesting to make something from them. I also use a lot of various thicknesses of sheet metal to create my sculptures.’

Sarah Francis receives her award for the best craft stall at the Royal Lancashire Show.

As no-one at Sarah’s school or college could teach her the skills she needed to become a metal sculptor she took on the job herself and began welding at the age of 16.

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Sarah also has quite a following on TikTok, where she showcases videos of her creations in progress. She sells her artwork via Etsy and has her own website, http://sarah-mae-art.co.uk

Sarah’s ambition now is to be commissioned to make some enormous sculptures that could become UK landmarks.

Sarah's MG ‘Lacey that has been transformed by plasma cutting into a stunning piece.