As many artists as there are in Delta County, there are as many forms of art created. Ricky Sparks of Crawford is an artist that creates beautiful, high-quality, functional hand-forged ornamental and architectural pieces in steel, iron and copper.
“I really enjoy doing this kind of stuff,” he said at his workspace in Hotchkiss. Under a shaded outdoor area, his work table is littered with samples of his work, calculations and drawings made on the work table, and his equipment-simple tools that with his guidance yield gorgeous metal art.
He’s been a full-time metal artist for several years now. After graduating from Hotchkiss High School in 2003, he went to Dallas Baptist University in Texas on a baseball scholarship. After three years in school, he was drafted by the New York Mets. He played with the team as a pitcher for three seasons before a shoulder injury ended his career. After that, he and his wife Brandy moved home where Ricky immediately began working under the name Rugged Cross Studios, a Christ-based company.
Ricky grew up helping his father, Rick Sparks, who is a welder. Ricky was helping his dad when he was “this high,” and from an early age, had an interest in what could be done with metal artistically. His dad likes to joke, “You went to the best school in the nation… it’s called Pops.” But Ricky says his work has developed over the years by just a lot of tinkering and ﬁguring out what looks good.
He’s done staircase railings, pot racks, door hardware, ﬁreplace doors, knives and throwing tomahawks, and more. “I like to do functional things,” he said. The functionality of his work doesn’t take away from the beauty of his craft though — one glance at his intricately hand-chiseled and sculpted pinecones proves that. He calls his work the “jewelry” of a home or other building.
Ricky’s work is all over Colorado, and 90 percent of his business comes from the ski resort areas, though he’s trying to get more of his work sold locally. On one home in Telluride, Ricky was commissioned by an interior decorator in Florida, who had seen his work elsewhere in Colorado. For that job, he built staircase balusters for a four-story railing that was a curving rod adorned with aspen leaves-all chiseled by hand.
His work is seen in Lance Armstrong’s Aspen home. Another Aspen home that was rated the #1 most impressive ski home in America by CNBC has Ricky’s handiwork as well including an outdoor ﬁre pit, ﬁreplace mantle, trellis and stair railings. A lot of his work has been done in high security homes, and Ricky wasn’t told whose home he was working on.
Locally, he’s done decorative pieces for Saddle Mountain Outﬁtters and Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, and is working on ﬁreplace doors for Black Mesa Lodge.
Ricky often hand-draws his designs before sculpting them out of metal. And that means “thousands and thousands and thousands of swings of a hammer,” he said. “I do things old school.” His work is done all by hand, and that yields an antique appearance. “When people want to get a custom piece of metalwork and can’t ﬁnd it, they come to me. You can’t buy this kind of stuff at Home Depot.”
Fnd more photos and contact information for Ricky Sparks on his website,
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