The team at Iron Designing recently received an order for a piece of custom-cut steel depicting a buck and a doe in the shape of a heart to top a wedding cake.
“The couple couldn’t find anything like it, but it’s what they wanted,” says owner DeeDee Fox of the betrothed hunters.
They’ve never done a cake topper, but the artist, Wally Fahler, saw it as a challenge and is conceptualizing it now.
Fox and Fahler are the duo that forms the Wellington company, which officially opened its doors on the first of this year and specializes in making custom metal art. Its designs range from the size of a wedding cake topper to a $23,000, 30-foot-wide gate at the Wolf Creek Environmental Center in Medina depicting a nature scene. And it will customize anything from wall hangings to car parts to mailboxes.
Fox founded Iron Designing when she convinced her childhood friend, Wally Fahler, to turn his longtime hobby into a business. Fahler had started working with metal in his dad’s car shop when he was a child. He started fabricating metal pieces for trucks, then eventually invested in a CNC Plasma Arc metal-cutting machine, which allows him to put a drawing into a computer and precisely cut the image into metal.
When Fahler started posting his creations on Facebook, he got a lot of positive feedback about his work. Fox saw the potential and approached him about broadening the reach of his talents.
Since then she has been promoting the art through an online gallery and social media, and they have received feedback from around the country and beyond. Already, the company sold pieces to customers in Alabama and Missouri.
All of the metal products are made in the United States, and the company has been in talks with a local steel company to use its steel in its products. And Fahler emphasizes the high quality of the metal art he creates.
“You are getting the quality you won’t find other places,” he says.
Fahler adds he has always liked the idea of working with metal because it is more adaptable than other products. If a piece of metal gets cut too short, additional metal can always be welded on. If wood gets cut too short, it has to be thrown out.
Customers come to Fahler with all kinds of ideas, sometimes with their own drawings and sometimes with just a vague concept. “I try to draw what they are looking for to the best of my ability,” he says. “Sometimes I can’t cut as tight as they want and I have to adjust the design, but almost everyone leaves happy.”
Fox says it’s rewarding watching a customer react to a unique design. “You can take an idea and incorporate it into metal, and they are just amazed,” she says.
One customer from North Ridgeville brought in an extremely heavy old saw blade and wanted a jumping dear carved into it. “You get some off the wall stuff, but it turns into a great idea,” Fox says.