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Old Soul Studio, Chillicothe

Allison Meade scours junkyards and shops to find discarded car parts for her art.

Where others see a pile of rusty scrap metal and worn-out car parts, welder Allison Meade envisions her next sculpture. For 15 years, the Chillicothe-based artist and owner of Old Soul Studio has been combing junkyards and automotive shops for discarded pieces and parts she can transform into metallic works of art.

“I love using motorcycle and automotive parts because that is a part of who I am,” Meade says. “I love old cars. I love that culture.”

Meade’s interest in welding was sparked in 2005, as she helped a roommate rebuild a vintage Studebaker pickup truck into a rat rod — a style of custom car that imitates early hot rods. She honed her skills by taking classes at Columbus State Community College and opened a studio at Columbus’ Idea Foundry. It was there Meade decided on the name for her business.

“I wanted to name it something cool that felt personal,” she says. “Old Soul Studio came about because I [believe in] using really old discarded metals from old cars and giving them a new life.”

That quest is exemplified in the coffee table she crafted from a weathered steel drum and pistons. After cutting the drum in half to use as a base, Meade fired up her welder to join four pistons and connected rods together to anchor the glass she chose for the tabletop.

“This [project] wasn’t planned at all,” Meade says. “I was just playing around and it came together.”

While she has a passion for automotive-centric works, Meade also creates sculptures based on a recent interest in Southwest-themed designs.

“I love going out West,” she says. “I love bison, I love horses, and I also have a little bit of Native American heritage.”

A recent move to a 20-acre wooded property — complete with a new workshop — has inspired the full-time firefighter and paramedic to continue her artistic pursuits.

“I think it is just something inside of me,” Meade says. “I just have this really deep need to create and express myself artistically.”  

For more information about Allison Meade’s work, visit oldsoulstudio.com

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