Chase Allen lives and works on tiny Daufus-kie Island (population 600), off the coast of South Carolina. But when the creator of whimsical metal sculptures won our 2014 American Made Audience Choice Award, he made connections far and wide.
How has winning the award changed your life?
More people have found out about my work, and as a result, I’m selling more. It also brought a lot more people to Daufuskie Island. You get that stamp of approval from Martha, and that goes a long way in the art and artisan worlds.
What are you working on now?
I’m updating my website, ironfishart.com, and working on a new line of artwork. The new pieces are steel canvases with coastal subjects that I hand-hammer from behind. I then put hundreds of little torch cuts in each piece. In the daytime, it looks like just a piece of art, but at night, when you place it over light, it’s illuminated.
What was your experience like at the American Made Summit?
I loved meeting Martha! Everyone made us feel like stars. But getting a chance to talk to the other winners was the highlight. We had so much in common. We all have had to make hundreds and hundreds of tiny decisions that ultimately determine our futures. For me, it was especially fun because living on Dufuskie Island I’m not a part of a network. I’m not in a city where I can go and have coffee with other makers and creative types. So to be in a room with people who’ve had similar experiences was just great. I was inspired by them. I don’t think any of us wanted to leave.
You donated your American Made Prize money to the Holmes Team. Can you tell us about it?
The Holmes Team supports my friend Claire’s son who is fighting a brain tumor. Holmes is such an optimistic and brave little boy, who is strong as an ox. It was a huge part of energizing people to vote on a daily basis because everyone was so motivated to win that prize money for him. It was such a huge, unforeseen bonus of that competition. The family is an inspiration to so many people. They are sharing updates on their Holmes Team page on Facebook.