We all have that artistic spark; you know the one that makes us delve into the worlds of music, dance, art and so many other mediums. We all have the capability to create something wonderful, intricate and uniquely ours so long as we allow ourselves to foster that spark.
Often that spark gets buried under the white noise of the everyday rat race. However there are some fortunate individuals who break free of the normal work-a-day life and jump right into the deep end of artistry and creation.
Ralph, the talent behind Inspired Iron, is one of those lucky individuals who took that leap and landed on his feet. By chance, when Ralph was asked to design a parade float, an amazing revelation it turned out to be and a new door was opened. Designing, creating and tinkering all became an obsession for him and for the past seven years. What was once an outlet to vent anxieties and frustrations became an opportunity to share his gift with others.
Ralph’s work is an evolving entity. It starts with an idea from a customer or himself and takes on many forms, unfolding as many happy accidents do, being bent and reshaped until it meets its final stage.
As a metal fabricator by trade, Ralph’s work is merely an extension of himself. He takes every day materials and cold forges, bends, melds and jigs them together to create inspiring iron works. There are no limitations to what Ralph creates, if it can be fathomed in the deepest recesses of your mind, he’ll find a way to realize it.
Inspired by things such as wildlife and highly evolved predators, what makes Ralph’s work so enchantingly unique is that it often just comes serendipitously. A thought, an idea, something he sees or hears will light a fire in him that won’t let him stop or sleep until that piece floating inside his mind is executed. Such inspiration is a beast that Ralph enjoys taming because it drives him crazy until it’s out there in the world for everyone to share, see, appreciate and enjoy.
An earnest hobby initiated seven years ago by pure chance matured into a successful business, a successful avenue to calm a disquieted mind and something Ralph can passionately share with others. Ralph’s talent has led to art installations, home decor, garden ornaments and innovative functional designs for everyday items such as fire pits and cheese boards; all rehabilitated and given new life.
Each piece that Ralph creates shows a level of craftsmanship, dedication, foresight, natural talent and ingenuity that speaks to the instinctive artistry of Ralph’s abilities. No one comes away disappointed when bringing home a commissioned piece by Inspired Iron because it is an exclusive, one of a kind item that has real heart and soul poured into it from the moment the material is struck for the first time.
Whether a project takes ten hours or a few weeks to complete, costs fifty dollars or two thousand dollars, Ralph’s wild enjoyment of creating and artistry is where his work gets its individuality. His goal is to be unorthodox, to take risks, to fail and try again. He believes that the fun is in not knowing what the end result is going to be, only that he is moving in the right direction. Watching body steel, wrought iron and wood coming alive under his hands is the ultimate rush because in the space between “beginning” and “end”, anything is possible.
Ralph knows there’s no ‘right’ way to make art; that the only wrong way is not to try. He believes that his art is freedom, it’s being able to bend things most people see as a straight line and that is what makes Inspired Iron singularly remarkable.
Written By: Tala Jenkins | Photography: Cory Bruyea