Three Crows Metalworks: Studio 5

Meet Lou and Diane and their daughter Maggie of Three Crows Metal Works, studio number 5 on the tour! After living on the Outer Banks for some time and also a short time in Virginia, Lou and Diane felt Alleghany calling them home. They raised three children here in Sparta.

Though their professional careers have not always been metal-smithing they have always enjoyed many different artistic endeavors. Diane got started in metal-smithing in the early 90’s. She feels that art is a serious means of self-expression and escape. Her work is permeated with nature themes. They use mostly recycled precious metals, as well as, precious and semi-precious gemstones sustainably sourced in the Southwest US. They create one of a kind pieces that reflect their love of the natural world and the mountains in which they live.

When you step into the workspace at Three Crows you will see Diane wearing her magnifying glasses with jeweler’s tools surrounding her. Every jewelry-making process produces its own characteristic sounds…the sharp staccato of a ball-peen hammer versus the thud of a rawhide mallet on metal. The rasp and click of the striker as it’s made to spit out the spark that ignites the propane and oxygen released from a soldering torch. The sizzling sound of hot metal as it’s plunged into the quenching bowl. The mechanical whirring and buzzing of the flex shaft with its suite of little rotary tools for grinding, drilling and polishing. The rhythmic grating sound of a file tearing up metal as it is pushed along a metal surface. The jeweler’s workshop sometimes becomes a sensorium of rhythmic experimental music.

Stop in for this sensory experience and pick out a one of kind piece to commemorate your trip.

Mangum-Cater on Main: Studio 4

Meet Robin Mangum, Daniel Cater, and Robin Cater of Mangum Cater on Main, studio number 4 on the tour.
Mangum Pottery was established in Alleghany County in the early 70’s. Cater Pots began their clay career here in the county in the mid 90’s. In 2013 they joined forces to open their joint venture on Main Street in Sparta.
Together their body of work includes functional and decorative clay work as well as metal sculpture work by Daniel. Their gallery/studio is open year round.

A walk about the gallery you will discover a wide range of function and form. Robin Mangum, a master on the potter’s wheel, will surprise you with a twisted vase, a sodium silicate crackle surface, a sculpted head with a whimsical expression. Daniel Cater jumps from clay to metal, coil building a series of clay sculptures one week to designing, fabricating, and finishing a commissioned metal sculpture. Robin Cater finds her rhythm throwing mugs, bowls, vases, and more. Occasionally she will create a series of tile and wood wall hangings, lamps, and totems.

“It’s wonderful being an artist, period. Its just a bonus to be in a place like Sparta.” Rob Mangum