Maple Loop for an Interior Designer's Home

I recently made a Maple Loop for a San Francisco-based interior designer's home. His taste in decor is obviously impeccable, so getting a commission from him -- for his own home, no less! -- was an honor.

If you'd like to discuss a custom piece of your own, get in touch through this form

Decking Out a San Francisco Hedge Fund Office

Just wrapped up my biggest job to date: Six custom wall hangings for a San Francisco hedge fund office! These photos are from before the installation, so stay tuned for pics of the pieces in their beautiful new homes. 

Here's Maze, a giant triptych for their main conference room:

And here are the three pieces in the Folds series:

If you're interested in a custom piece for your office or home, email me at zai@elektrasteel.com.

Custom Piece for Michael & Salma

I recently wrapped up a commission piece for a wonderful couple, Michael and Salma. They were so much fun to work with, and I’m really happy with how the piece turned out!

Michael Wornick in front of two Orozco pieces from his collection.

I met Michael at Renegade Craft Fair in April — he came by my booth and struck up a conversation. We chatted about art and design. He's an art collector who owns a number of sketches by Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. He and his partner had just bought a beautiful home in Sonoma, California, and they were looking for something bold (and fairly heat-resistant) to hang over their fireplace. 

During our conversation about what kinds of imagery he’s drawn to, he mentioned that he loved the kinds of patterns found in Islamic art. He also said that he liked my aesthetic, and didn’t want to give me too many restrictions or guidelines — he wanted to see what I’d come up with (#dreamclient).

We explored a couple different design directions together. The clear favorite was a pattern of tessellating diamonds. The inspiration for this design was a photo I’d found of a carved stone screen from a temple in Jaipur called Chandra Mahal. (I only later figured out that I had actually visited that very temple a few years ago with my family!) 

Below are some process photos: the reference image I started with, some sketches in my notebook, a CAD drawing, the lasercut steel parts, an array of parts in various stages of sanding, staining, and waxing, and finally, the assembly. 

Interested in a custom piece of your own? Fill out this form and let's discuss!

The Mood Meter

I just finished up a custom piece with an extra special backstory: Two of my mom's colleagues hired me to make an anniversary gift for my own parents -- as a surprise!

My mother, Diana Divecha, next to the piece I made for her and my dad

My mom, Diana Divecha, is a developmental psychologist who works with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She and her colleagues, Robin Stern and Marc Brackett, publish editorials, speak at conferences, and educate experts about how social and emotional learning programs benefit kids and teens. When Robin and Marc came to me with the idea for a custom piece for my parents, their only request was that I create a representation of the Mood Meter.

The Mood Meter is one of the central tools in RULER, the emotional intelligence curriculum developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. It's a graph that helps people identify and articulate their emotions. The x-axis plots how positive or negative the emotion is, while the y-axis plots energy level. This results in four distinct quadrants: 

  • Red: Emotions that are unpleasant and high in energy, like anger, frustration and anxiety
  • Yellow: Pleasant and high in energy, like excitement, joy and elation
  • Blue: Unpleasant and low in energy, like boredom, sadness and despair
  • Green: Pleasant and low in energy, like tranquility, serenity and satisfaction

Robin and Marc gave me tons of creative freedom with regard to the style, aesthetic, and materials, which was such a treat for me! I ended up creating a large, square mosaic made out of sheet steel. I took the graph and tipped it on a corner -- diamonds felt more dynamic than squares. If you've seen my work before, you probably know that my color palette is pretty subdued (both my portfolio and my closet could be described as "Fifty Shades of Gray"). I used a variety of finishing techniques -- staining, sanding, sandblasting, waxing -- to create tones in the steel ranging from bright silver to a dark slate gray. There's a subtle ombré from bottom to top: The lower half of the piece is a bit darker, to reflect lower-energy emotions, while the upper half has brighter, shinier steel tones, to symbolize higher-energy emotions. Robin requested small splashes of color as a nod to the Mood Meter, so I painted four small triangles with the original quadrant colors. Lastly, I welded a simple frame out of steel flatbar to give the piece a polished edge.

Needless to say, my parents were pretty stunned when they saw the piece -- they couldn't believe that Robin, Marc, and I had managed to keep this project a secret from them for months! It wasn't easy, though. I'm very close to my parents, and there were many times when I was tempted to gush to them about what I was working on. But I kept my lips zipped, and they loved the surprise!

"That you were able to create a piece of art that expresses our love and appreciation for you and your family brings great joy and satisfaction to us," wrote Marc. "It’s a gorgeous piece of art with a subtle reminder that each day thousands of children and adults are learning the skills they need to become talented and caring people." 

Want your own custom wall hanging like this? Email me and let's discuss!

Customer Spotlight: La Bijouterie

I designed and fabricated these three Marble Prism Stands for La Bijouterie, my favorite jeweler in San Francisco. I met Set, the owner, because he designed and made my beautiful engagement ring. A few months later, he hired me to make these stands for his window displays!

In case you're curious to see the piece that Set made for me, here's a photo of me rocking my gorgeous new ring in the metal shop:

Want a Marble Prism Stand for yourself? There's one available in my shop, and if you'd like a custom one, email me and we'll make it happen!

Customer Spotlight: Mary & Rob

Over the last few months, I've noticed a really wonderful trend: Customers have started sending me photos of how they're using their purchases! It fills my heart with joy to see my pieces being used and loved and integrated into people's daily lives. So, I'm starting a new blog series to show off Elektra Steel pieces in their new homes!

I'm kicking off the series with family friends Mary and Rob, who are some of my favorite repeat customers. Rob was my middle school math teacher, and their son was classmates with my little sister -- our families have known each other for a long time! Mary and Rob now have four Elektra Steel pieces: three Hex Votives and a Geo Planter. I love the way they've chosen to display and use these pieces! They're outside on a deck, surrounded by plants, flowers, beautiful votive candles, and, apparently, a glass of wine (#lifegoals, am I right?!). 

Thank you, Mary and Rob, for supporting my craft and my business from the very beginning, and for being such wonderful, loving people! And thank you for sending me these beautiful photos! 

Do you own an Elektra Steel piece? Send me some photos of it in its new home, and you could see them on the blog!