Using a metal fabrication tool, 16-gauge cold rolled steel and her imagination, Ellie DelliGatti creates colorful metal artwork in a variety of sizes and colors.
With a preference for making ocean- and Alaska-themed pieces, DelliGatti’s best-selling work includes trinket-sized Alaska shapes with hearts in the area where Homer is located. Finished with abstract paints and bright colors, some of these pieces have hangers to hang on a wall, while others are hung by twine and a fishing swivel, intended as ornaments.
Creating these pieces using voids in a sheet of metal she’s cut other things out of, to keep from wasting metal, she began creating these in 2018 after a vacation in Alaska and continued doing so after moving to Homer in 2020 after her divorce.
“I thought Homer was especially beautiful and I was excited to experience the nature and fishing,” she said. “I fell in love with Alaska and especially Homer and these smaller pieces showcase this love that so many others also have.”
DelliGatti’s plasma cut metalwork is the result of using accelerated hot plasma to cut through metal, with the tools of her trade including a CNC plasma cutting table, grinders, sanders, pliers, spray paint, an oven and a torch, local and industrial sourced supplies.
Having taken a few welding classes from a community college in her former home state of Oregon, DelliGatti is mostly self-taught, getting her start working with metal in 2017 when she and her now ex-husband had a business where he fabricated fireplace surrounds, car parts, trailers and more, using a plasma cutting table to customize parts to fit different cars with different motors. DelliGatti herself cut stainless steel countertops and other items.
“He wanted me to learn how to use the cutting table and later, have a business selling art up here, which is what I took on, trying for the past couple of years to sell off what I have, set up the table and support myself with my art.”
Working in a connex on her property, she strives to spend her weekends working in her shop and restocking local inventory during the week.
“I love a day with good weather, when I’m in the right frame of mind to do a lot of creating and when the paint dries just right or I’m able to achieve cobalt blue, purples and greens with heat,” she said.
DelliGatti’s business name, Kraken Metals, came after several customers fought to purchase a brushed and heat-tempered cobalt blue octopus she had created and had for sale in a shop on the Spit. That octopus has been her highest selling piece to date.
Along with large octopus, she creates other ocean-themed pieces like crabs and mermaids that each take about 45 minutes to grind and 15 to 25 minutes to color in an oven or an hour to color by hand.
DelliGatti has been selling her Alaska heart pieces at Wild Edge Coffee, formerly Shore Brew Coffee, on the Spit for the past year. This past May, she exhibited at Grace Ridge Brewing and since that time, has participated in the breweries Pop Up events.
“I had a very successful month as a featured artist at the brewery,” she said. “I showed about 60 pieces and sold 40 or so, including a blue octopus, salmon and my medium-sized Alaskas. It was an exciting experience to exhibit and the owners, staff and public were very encouraging of me and my work.”
Her short-term goals include selling the inventory she has on hand and getting her plasma cutting table set up with a large air compressor so she can continue creating and cutting new designs. Her long-term goals include securing other tools and supplies including a sand blaster, powder coater, tanks for her welder and an English wheel.
“A sandblaster will allow me to strip items to be refinished a lot faster and easier, powder coating is a very strong weather friendly finish and will preserve for a very long time, an English wheel will allow be to bend and contour metals and the welder will allow me to put several pieces together,” she said. “With those in hand, the sky will be the limit for my creativity.”
With her cutting table currently sitting in a toy hauler on her property as she looks for an air compressor, DelliGatti is eager to secure what she needs. She hopes to be up and running early in the New Year, if not sooner, creating new designs, more detailed and intricate metal artwork and offering commissioned pieces.