What happens when the old renaissance craft of blacksmithing is combined with today’s tools and welding technology? A look at Victoria Ross Patti’s sculptures reveals the delicate balance of the two with curvy embellishments on cold hard steel that has a touch of femininity.
Victoria’s passion for making steel sculptures started after college in her mid-20’s when she was hired as an industrial mechanic for the City of Boulder. Soon after being hired she attended welding classes at the local technical college. Learning how to weld opened up a door that would allow Victoria to express herself through steel. She would stay after work to make steel sculptures from the “boneyard” of leftover pump parts. “The pump parts were unique and fun to work with,” Victoria remembers, “but I wanted a more delicate finish on my metal pieces. I needed something more feminine to add to them.” In 1995, she signed up for a 3-week blacksmithing course taught by Frank Turley in Santa Fe, NM. She said “It brought me to another level with metal. I was drawn to the fluidity and softness of steel after it’s heated in a 2000-degree gas forge.” There she learned how to make her own tools through blacksmithing practices such as forge welding and tempering as well as the delicate scrolls that “finish” her pieces.
As a sculptor working with steel, her goal is to make this rigid substance appear soft and supple, fluid and dynamic. To enable expressions of textures and curves that invite the touch of a hand. Her techniques are a fusion of both the old world and the new world of metalsmithing. She continues her research and testing of the steel’s tolerance to heat and manipulation.
Colorado public parks and downtown cityscapes are common areas where you will find Victoria’s pieces permanently installed for all to enjoy. A few of her pieces have won first place in the People’s Choice award category. She was featured in the Metal Fabricator Magazine, an article titled “Blacksmiths: Women in the industry” in September 2016. Donating original works to charities and fundraisers locally in Colorado is another avenue she participates in. As a member of the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), she has also been featured in their quarterly magazine the “Anvils Ring”.
As a fun community building project, she founded BlacksmitHerRadio.com in 2014, a website, and podcast used to make the blacksmith community stronger. She does that through candid, unscripted podcast interviews of female and male blacksmiths around the world.
Why Do I Do It?
I am fascinated with the movement of hot pliable metal. My goal is to make the steel look soft, curvy and sometimes feminine. Steel can be seen as cold, hard, with unmovable character…. until it is heated to 2000 degrees, then it becomes fun and malleable, though still strong to the core. I’m especially drawn to custom sculpture commissions, making a statement piece from someone else’s vision or idea.
How Do You Find Out More?
The best way to learn about my art business, studio updates, and the latest designs is to subscribe to my email newsletter. Or you can stop by where I work, the 23rd Ave Sculpture Studio, 3500 W 23rd Ave, Denver, CO. I usually have a few of my sculptures onsite in the sculpture garden. Follow me on Instagram – @blacksmithervic.