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Sequim welder shares artistic side
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Dan Donovan doesn't consider himself an artist.
By definition, he's a blue-collar worker. As a welder, he completes manual work that requires protective clothing and gear. But the truth can be found by flipping through a large binder in the Carlsborg showroom filled with past projects: A fireplace screen with two deer grazing; a garden bridge that reads "Welcome;" a steel gate with musicians playing fiddles; a waterwheel that generates electricity; a geriatric gurney that can withstand 1,000 pounds.
Donovan is an artist, through and through. His masterpieces are both beautiful and functional and can last the test of time in the harshest of environments.
In addition to being an artist, Donovan is a businessman. In June 1990, he started Allform Welding as a one-man operation. As his client-base grew, so did the company. Twenty years later, Allform Welding is an incredibly successful business with six loyal employees.
With a three-day-old beard covering his face and wearing a faded denim shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes, Donovan might not look like a business owner. But that's because he doesn't sit in the office doing paperwork or answering questions from home. He's smack-dab in the middle of everything and works alongside his crew.
"It's fun melting metal together," he said with the same enthusiasm as a child playing shop.
"I love what I do."
Donovan specializes in welding. He fixes broken objects and machines and builds guardrails, handrails, spiral staircases, gates and custom orders from scratch. Work is done in the Carlsborg shop and on-site. From fixing lawn mowers - or in one case a small pair of tweezers with a lot of sentimental value - to custom-building big, expensive, decorative, automatic gates, Donovan does it all with a smile and positive attitude.
"I like the variety you can do with welding," he said.
"We never know what's going to come through the door the next day."
Donovan's energy and positive attitude are contagious around the office and in the shop. The staff chats and jokes with each other like family. No job is too big or too small.
"If a customer comes in and tells me what they want, I say 'OK, let's get started!'" he said.
Donovan claims a "semi-local" status. He grew up and attended school in the Renton area and returned to the state from southern California after his parents retired to Sequim. After so many years, his roots are firmly planted, he said.
His latest endeavor is creating garden art. From rebar cages for growing tomatoes to a small, decorative covey of quail, Donovan is open to suggestions and always looking for an interesting new project.