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Twisted Steel Sconces

Artist Holly Vrieze creates whimsical twisted sconces by using steel and her torch.

Artist Holly Vrieze loves to play with steel. With her torch, she often spends hours in her studio creating elegant steel figures, sculptures, and chairs. But she's especially proud of her twisted sconces, whimsical steel creations that add a touch of fun and elegance to any room.

It begins with Holly on a cement pad. Dressed in the appropriate safety gear, she uses a torch to heat half-inch iron rods. Next she will bend and twist the steel. This process of twisting and bending must be done quickly while the metal is still hot and can be quite difficult, depending on the complexity of the design. Next she tack-welds several shaped steel rods together. A rosebud tip on the torch assures that the connections between the rods are stable. Holly then uses a dye grinder to smooth out any rough edges left by the welding process. Sandpaper and steel wool are used for finer grinding. She then adds texture and color to the piece using patina-based chemicals after a water wash; the piece is dried, then polished by hand with a soft cloth. A clear coating adds the final finish. The end result is a contemporary steel sconce with handmade charm.

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