Women who fancy trying their hand at welding and other ways to create or fix all things metal are invited to the first meeting of the Whitehill & Bordon Lady Shed.

Cllr Roger Russell, Whitehill’s deputy town mayor and an award-winning metal sculpture artist, is holding the event in the main hall at The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre in Station Road on December 10 at 11am.

He said: “I thought maybe there should be a Lady Shed so I put up posts on Nextdoor and Facebook and now I have been inundated with requests.

“I have been making and teaching people wire sculpture, how to work metals and welding for many years.

“The idea is to create a safe place where you can learn to use general workshop tools, drills and saws.

“There is also bending and shaping sheet metal using traditional hand tools, and of course soldering, brazing and MIG, TIG and arc welding. I can teach anyone to weld in three hours. Or maybe you just want to repair something. Also I want to create some social cohesion and maybe a group project we can all make together, such as a soapbox derby cart.”

Cllr Russell will bring all his machines to the Phoenix and is basing his idea for a Lady Shed on the MAKE Gosport workshop, which he described as “a gym with power tools”.

He said he had a “hands off” approach to teaching, adding: “I will show people the techniques but then let them do it themselves – it’s the best way to learn.

“Don’t be put off by the thought of holding a torch with a fierce flame – you’ll start with one you can fit in your pocket and end up arc welding 20-metre sheets of steel.”

Cllr Russell learnt his skills as a child in a workshop on the farm where he lived.

His wire sculptures of fairies, dragonflies and insects are fantastic works of art but he assured potential pupils that their construction is simpler than it looks.

He said: “I’ll show them the process. You don’t need a three-year art degree to make one of my fairies.”

Cllr Russell acknowledged it could be difficult to get a project such as a Lady Shed off the ground, but he added: “I can start teaching people immediately.

“It’s their Lady Shed. I’m just there to set it up and then I’ll step away. I am a man after all!”

To find out more visit https://rogerrussell1960.co.uk/