This couple transitioned from landscaping to metalwork design during a re-evaluation of lifestyle. Now they’re known for their range hoods and patinas. When the two arrived in Colorado about 10 years ago, they’d been working in landscape design for years—Amy in design and sales, Stefan as a master builder in multiple media. They were ready for a change in how they worked.
Stefan and Amy Sasick had already named their new venture Raw Urth, staying in the landscaping vein, when Amy won a bid that included a new metal fence. With no skilled resource to turn to, the couple bought every book on welding they could find, and boned up on their rudimentary blacksmithing skills.
The result was so successful, other innovative metalwork projects followed. “Our ignorance helped us do things differently, because we didn’t know they were ‘wrong’,” Amy says. Stefan describes the Raw Urth philosophy as “swimming upstream” (a term familiar in northeastern Colorado) against the tide of anonymous, automated design and fabrication. The Sasicks make use of wind energy, and their steel comes from American mills that recycle post-consumer waste from junked cars and appliances.
Viewing their niche as things that “aren’t already out there,” Raw Urth’s founders design metalwork from fireplace screens to elaborate fire features; beams, railings, and staircases; and, most significantly, range hoods and countertops, which the Sasicks initially crafted in steel rather than the more traditional copper.
“We knew we wanted to go national,” Amy says. “The range hoods stood out. We love making them, and clients couldn’t get enough.” Heavy gauge, these hoods are fully welded and ground. “There are no seams or folded metal,” Amy continues. “Each hood is a finished piece of furniture that hangs on the wall.”
Work has been steady since the beginning, and the firm will soon move to a larger shop with a showroom. A new website is on the way, too. Through it all, Amy and Stefan have abided by core values. “We want to make things that our children will hold onto. We want to do something that’s human.”
Before there was Raw Urth, the couple owned a landscaping business called Fluid Designs. Convinced that an outdoor environment should include hardscape elements made from steel, they searched the market for appropriate sources, only to find they didn’t exist. Undeterred, they packed up a borrowed RV and headed to New Mexico for a week at a blacksmithing camp.
“We loved everything about that trip: the landscape, open fires, the smell of burning coal and, most of all, how steel can be manipulated and hammered,” Amy recalls. Working with an antique anvil found in a friend’s garage, a broken-down hand-crank forge, and a bag of left-handed leather gloves, Stefan and Amy learned the craft that set them on the path to Raw Urth.
The Handcrafted Way
Raw Urth is unusual in that the company is willing to work in unexpected metals and forms. They’ve long since moved beyond steel to a long list of metals and finishes that includes pewter, zinc, stainless steel, polished nickel, and polished bronze. The company is known for its patinas, all of them originated by Stefan Sasick. “For steel alone, I think we’ve got 27 different patinas,” Amy Sasick says. “Patinas are beautiful, reflecting different colors as you walk around the object.” Every piece is custom designed and unique, and made by a single individual. “One guy in our shop gets each project,” Amy says. “That one person has it from beginning to end.”