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RIGHT, drill team. On a large drill Andy and Dan Patterson demonstrate the beauty of industrial art in iron work.


LOWER, creating the details of metal sculpture art.


OPPOSITE PAGE, Andy Patterson works on a custom ordered piece. The South Coast provides a good market for specially commissioned metal pieces.


They heat, bend and grind steel to create twining table legs, fanciful gates and fire screens, railings, light fixtures, sconces and other objects custom ordered by their clients.


Blacksmithing today is almost a lost art, especially the hand forging that the Patterson brothers do. Hand forging involves heating metal to the bright orange state where it can “sculpted,” bent and shaped over an anvil.


“Iron work is an industrial art,” says Dan Patterson, who majored in sculpture in college. “There’s a craft to it. Good art requires good craft.” For the first few years, Dan operated his business as ORALABORA Creations, only recently adopting the more direct name Santa Barbara Forge and Iron. ORALABORA, a combination of the Latin words for prayer and work, is derived from the Benedictine tradition. Dan was drawn to it, he says, because it reflected a “blending of the mundane and sacred into one work ethic.” Both Dan and Andy are exemplars of this philoso- phy, which stresses the development of the total person. Dan is working on his M.A. in art from the Transart Institute in Austria, plays drums in a profes- sional band and does home beer brewing. Andy is a rock climbing guide and published poet. Together they are something of a phenomenon. Dan took up metal sculpting in college and saw blacksmithing as a way to extend his fascination with working creatively with metals. He is a self-described lover of tinkering, with a special fondness for ma- chines and gadgets. He prefers “projects that require some engineering,” such as sliding doors with special, complicated latches. “Nothing makes me happier than when I’m making things,” he says. When he’s not fabricating an iron grating that looks as if it was hand-wrought in Andalucia, Dan works on his own art. One of his projects is a set of branding irons that he created to reflect “big brand America.” Metal branding irons depicting the logos of GAP, Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris and McDonalds are part of an in-progress set. Andy joined his brother in the iron working busi- ness in 2005. Both men apprenticed under profes- sional furniture makers after they graduated from college. Many of their designs incorporate both metal and wood, such as doors and wooden tables with metal legs.


30 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE


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