Arroyo Seco artisan, and ASCA member, Chad Dietz began constructing unique iron sculptures as a creative addition to his employment as a heavy equipment operator in Fairbanks, Alaska. As these unique iron sculptures gained an appreciative audience amongst cities, corporations and individuals in Alaska, he established “Alaska Ornamental Iron” in 1997 and began devoting his full time to the design and custom construction of unique artwork/products. Soon thereafter, he had expanded his offerings to include wrought iron railings, gates, pergolas, stairways and beautiful Gazebo Swings.
Soon thereafter, moved by the plight of his sister’s child, afflicted with cerebral palsy at birth and confined to a wheel chair, he designed and manufactured a remarkable wheelchair swing. Her smile, upon her first liberating swing, was incandescent.
Inspired by this initial success, and recognizing that this child’s wheel chair bound plight was repeated around the world by many others of all ages, Chad continued to upgrade the design over the ensuing years and now these safe, attractive and life-enhancing swings have been purchased throughout the United States, and, in 2017, the United Kingdom, to families and institutions that care for children, adults and the aged who are confined to wheel chairs and want to swing in company with friends or family.
In 2007, the Dietz family decided to seek a more idyllic climate to work and live with their expanding family, so Chad, and wife Sami, sold his company and moved to 30005 Olivia Drive, Arroyo Seco, California where they built a large home to house their continually expanding family and a modern, efficient metal working facility, wrapped in the comforting exterior of a country barn, and founded “Ironwood Products”.
Now, with their first grandchild in hand, and another on the way, the Dietz Family and the Ironwood Products Company are thankful to have become a part of the Arroyo Seco community.
From back left: Luke, Sue, Michael, Eric, Daniel, Grace, Elizabeth, Jeremiah & Haley Pressey, Isaiah, Chad & Sami with Amariah Pressey.
Arroyo Seco artisan, and ASCA member, Bruce Ricker was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1945, but grew up in Carmel Valley in a home devoid of television, but he was provided freedom to roam the widely varying landscape of hills, redwood canyons, oaks and chaparral, the river and the sea, all of which left an indelible impression.
After joining the Navy at age 17 and serving as a hospital corpsman in Vietnam, Bruce returned to the and attended San Francisco State University as an art major where he found his work out of step with the nihilistic art of the times.
After working as an Architect for several years, Bruce resigned and launched a career as an artist/craftsman/entrepreneur and was soon doing screen printed laminated acrylic jewelry and painting on Masonite and Plexiglas to put food on the table. The only modern artists he felt some affinity for were William Wylie and Wayne Thiebaud.
Finally he left the Bay Area and returned to Carmel Valley where he rented a studio and equipped it with tools required by his evolving artistic interests: table saw, air compressor, buffer, router, table sander and drill press. Over time he developed a unique technique that he called “plexigraphic” and began to make and sell striking artwork and to display it at several art galleries, most importantly, in 1999, Chalk and Vermilion, the nation’s leading publisher of art prints at that time.
In 2002, Bruce married Chris Winfield, moved to a house in the country and began to learn Photoshop in order to speed and evolve his production of artwork. Two years later Bruce and Chris purchased a home on a 3.5 acre parcel with Cherry Creek running through it and facing rock outcroppings and cliffs that were similar to some of the views depicted in paintings he had been creating for years.
For the last 13 years Chris has been creating and selling his art, which continues to evolve. Currently he is creating a complicated and evocative patio floor that is adjacent to his home and shaded by huge oak trees. The floor features inlaid stones of myriad types and sizes, that provide a fascinating mosaic of colors and textures….an indelible work-of-art that must be seen to be fully appreciated.