Turning Metal into Meaning – Defining, Designing, Developing, Delivering

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Metal Art with a Personal Touch – Your Own

At 3Herons Metalworks, Marti has spent years refining her creative and metal-working processes through careful planning … and not a little trial-and-error. But that’s OK, in fact, it’s great! How else can one learn what works and what doesn’t unless one does the research and take some risks?

That’s why Marti spends so much of her free time exploring different methods for delivering your vision. From investigating techniques for cutting and welding to checking out books the library forgot in order to find the perfect patinas for her next piece in copper or steel, Marti has never been one to shy away from hard work and research.

Step 1 – Defining

Marti’s process begins, simply enough, with a consultation. She takes the time to talk to you about your vision. She explores the landscape you wish to enhance. She discusses appropriate metals, colors, types and pieces. And then she’ll tell you if it’s doable or not – and if it isn’t, she’ll do her best to find a way to make it work.

Step 2 – Designing

From there, she’ll create several hand-sketches, giving you the opportunity to review them to ensure you are both still on the same page. According to Marti, “The client’s participation is uber-important. They need to ‘own’ the art because it’s their art.” As an artist who has worked in mediums from metal to paints to nature’s own ornaments (plants), this sentiment is true for gardening, landscaping or metal work. “I may make the piece,” she says, “but it’s their vision.”

At this point, back at her studio on 31st street in downtown Kansas City, Marti will layout an oversized sheet of butcher paper to draw a life-size version of the vision. She’ll then transfer the design to a 4’x8’ sheet of American-made steel – heavy-duty, high-grade material that will bend but not break – or copper or brass or whatever materials she and the client have determined is best for the piece. It’s at this point that, by tracing the design on the material in question with chalk, she’ll get a feel for the practicality of the piece. She will sketch, revise, re-sketch, rework and get the details just right.


“I listen to what the clients want and try to create what I hear them saying.”

Marti Dodge – Founder and Owner | 3Herons Metalworks


Step 3 – Developing

Now it’s time to cut. Marti uses her hand-held plasma cutter to trim out the design, carefully carving away excess material, maintaining a smooth and consistent touch to create your work of art. Each piece is individually and hand-made. Her techniques for creating more complicated pieces include everything from using the weld process as a visual part of the actual piece of art to etching.

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Step 4 – Delivering

3Herons Metal WorksFrom there, Marti will take the time to deliver the perfect piece. She’ll smooth out the rough edges. She’ll do more than bring the work to life … she brings it to color. “I like color,” she says. “I want to capture certain colors, get it just right, do the research and find new and old ways to bring that color to life on metal. I like flow, if your eye follows – so will the mind. So will love.”

Do you have a vision in mind? With her ability to express your dream artistically combined with her skill in cutting and welding, no project is too big – or too small – for Marti’s brand of metal-working magic.