"I have an understanding with the metal. We both have to compromise a little, but it works out well for both of us.
Steve Shelby's metal art is a celebration of nature. His inspiration comes from a lifetime of observing nature up close. His use of brass, a very strong and durable material, has a lot to do with his desire to make pieces that are timeless, to be enjoyed for many generations to come. The work requires hours of hammering, a process which he says is so absorbing and meditative that he loses track of time. His goal is to produce forms in metal that are beautiful, simple and elegant, constructed and finished in an honest and straightforward way.
Each of Steve Shelby's unique pieces start as a picture in his head, which he says usually appears unexpectedly, for no apparent reason. He does little or no drawing, although for animal forms he usually does a preliminary "sketch" in clay. He makes paper patterns for cutting out the brass pieces. Forming is done with a lot of hammering, with variously shaped hammers, and steel "stakes", most of which he made himself. Many hours of careful labor go into each piece, which is obvious from the beautiful shimmering quality of the hammered surface.
Steve Shelby graduated from Ball State University in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in Art, concentrating in jewelry and metalsmithing. After graduating, he moved to Philadelphia for two years, taking classes at Tyler School of Art, and working for a manufacturing jeweler, where he learned the art of chain-making. The next 23 years were spent as a skilled metal craftsman employed by Fox Products Corp. He got the inspiration for his current work in brass in 2002.