Forging Timeless Treasures

> Story by Kirsten Rue
> Photography Courtesy of METAL LLC

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Floating Paper Tables: Constructed of plate steel, the tables’ distressed color coat is known as a “living finish,” maturing like a fine wine or any heirloom.

In what they term a stroke of “elemental metallurgy,” business partners John Walters and Claudette Stern met at a New Mexico iron pour in 2006. When they recognized a shared sense of vision, classic design principles, and artistic craftsmanship, opportunity sparked. “Oddity” became “commodity” as the two formed METAL LLC.

A recent addition to Jackson Hole’s stable of artists contributing to home design and décor, METAL LLC designs and fabricates projects that run the gamut: objets d’art, sculptures, custom architectural works, and restorations. The firm is client-focused, says Stern: “Our strong suits are not only that we can handle design, fabrication, and installation. We’re also owner-operated and value direct communication.”

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Copper Pendant Lamp: A copper sheet appears to curl, the effect of tungsten inert gas (TIG)-welded joinery. The 110-volt, dimmable halogen bulb provides soft illumination, while the shape offers immediate impact.

While Stern often acts as the public-facing side of the business, Walters brings the acumen of a Master of Fine Arts in digital fabrication and bronze casting from the University of Michigan. He relishes bringing his work from the gallery into the private interior. “The nice thing about what we do is that the objects we’re making now are going to be appreciated on a personal level,” he says. “A person lives with the object, enjoys fitting it into their life. That, to me, is really satisfying. We’re not just providing a service, but creating a heritage item.”

And, oh, what heritage items they are. Often comprising significant research, high-tech image rendering, and custom finishes, the team produces results that fit both client and space to a T. “Our idea is that a distinguished design exists outside of the boundaries of the current models of mass marketing. That’s our clientele: Care, quality, and longevity are really important,” explains Stern.

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Drip Rail Staircase: Geometric lines offset the honey gloss of repurposed antique barnwood, the metal finished with a transparent gunmetal-grey powdercoat.

She adds, “The true testament here is that we have repeat clients. … That speaks not only to our level of communication, but also to the timeliness, the design, and the quality of the work that we do.”

Tradition. Technological vision. Industrial artistry. These elements combine in METAL LLC’s inventory of work and made-to-order projects in locales as distant as Puerto Rico. And now, to our great luck, their full-service studio is available right here in Jackson Hole.