The ‘Last Stand’ Is A Place Where Nature Meets Artist

Scott Paterson in his shop in Montezuma, Iowa.

Scott Patterson in his shop in Montezuma, Iowa.

Montezuma, Iowa – In a small shop just south of Montezuma, Scott Patterson has been developing his skills and art of the forge, while looking for the message each tree is trying to tell.

Patterson spent years in the area making his living as a carpet installer, which impacted his health.

While recovering from multiple surgeries on his knees, Patterson began to explore his creative side more. He had always enjoyed airbrushing, tattooing, and drawing, but the forge and saw have gotten his attention in the last few years.

Eventually, he moved his creative side into the ancient art of blacksmithing, something he attributes to his grandfather who did a little blacksmithing over the years. “I’ve always had a fascination with it when I first started out.”

Patterson says there is a lot of science to be a blacksmith, something he learned along the way. “I had a couple of friends really help me out, guiding me through it. A lot of it is, self-taught through books, and trial and error.”

“I work off of an 1800’s style forge,” says Patterson. “I don’t hand billows because I’m mostly here by myself and it is a pain in the butt to run that.”

An air pump supplies the needed oxygen to make the fire hot enough to make the metal pliable. “I just old school it out.”

“When they think blacksmith, they think you’re either shoeing horses or making knives. There is so much more to that. It’s nice because I can make my own hinges for my woodworking. I do tomahawk work. That’s been an ongoing learning experience too,” adds Patterson.

The learning process is ongoing he says, “If I don’t learn something every day, then I probably didn’t work.”

“I’ve taken on some commissioned work every now and then, and when I say it’s been a challenge, some of it has,” he adds. “It’s been great and that’s what I really enjoy.”

“It’s just another way to express my art,” adds Patterson, who has been enjoying some financial success with his work. “For the first time in my entire life, I am living off of nothing but my art.”

“It’s been an interesting road getting here, I can assure you”, says Patterson. “I’ve had a lot of great people in my life helping me out.”

Patterson’s other creative side is utilizing his sawmill to create one-of-a-kind works of art, from really big logs that are then slabbed. Those slabs of giant logs are the base of much of his work.

He also looks for unique pieces of wood in an effort to create one-of-a-kind pieces such as burls. “It’s not so much woodworking, but it is a piece of functional art,” said Patterson, who loves that people take his work home with them, and that artwork is also functional to the buyer. “It’s daily usable, and you can pass it on to your family.”

This desk is now inside the Oskaloosa News office, and is a functional work of art made by Patterson.

This desk is now inside the Oskaloosa News office, and is a functional work of art made by Patterson.

Patterson says he doesn’t cut many trees down a year, ‘I just cut very few and they are very select. I don’t make lumber; I’m making slabs and the little goofy things that I make to get my stuff done here [shop].”

“I have a tendency, as you can see, to make big things,” says Patterson of his work, which involves slabs of wood cut from the few trees he harvests. “I don’t know what that is, maybe it’s the love for the really big chunks of wood that’s one piece. You can’t go to Menards and get what I’ve got.”

Doing something different with wood and thinking differently about what that slab of would could be is where Patterson and his art shine. “It’s just another medium, the wood and the metal, and I enjoy the metal. Your possibilities are only limited by your imagination.”

And there have been a few injuries and some scares while being creative. “All of my work has my DNA in it by the way,” jokes Patterson. “If you ever need to clone me, just find a piece of my work, and you’ll have some of me in there.”

The size of his creations leaves people awestruck at times. “It’s really fun to do Woodfest at the Amana Colonies. It is an absolute blast because they do appreciate; they are after that select.”

As you enter Patterson’s shop, you are welcomed by those large slabs of wood, which often sit a year or more to finish drying, which forces Patterson to think his projects out a year or more in advance.

The scale also causes confusion when talking with others who aren’t familiar with his work. “Sometimes that presents a problem when I’m doing my woodworking, because I am explaining to somebody an idea and they are thinking lumber, and I’m looking at a tree. Everything I get is in tree form. If it’s not standing, it’s laying. I like to harvest pre-dropped trees, not because I’m afraid to drop them, but because I try to be eco-minded. I don’t need to cut down a bunch of trees to make lumber. There are very beautiful trees that are passed over. Hence, the “Last Stand.”

Patterson takes trees and turns them into works of art to last a lifetime, and the tree makes its last stand serving in its new role. “The trees died or dead, given it up, and I’ve given it another life. It’s the “Last Stand.”

With that thought, Patterson named his shop ‘The Last Stand.’

During the Christmas shopping season, you can find some of Patterson’s work inside Penn Central Mall. You can find out more on his Facebook Page – HERE

Posted by on Dec 1 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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