This monthly blog from The Maker City features a look at some of the Knoxville area’s outstanding makers – artists, crafters and custom builders. This month’s blog introduces three area makers who excel at metal artistry.  ​

Liz Headrick of  Fabuliz Fabrication and Welding Liz Headrick of  Fabuliz Fabrication and Welding

Liz Headrick,  Fabuliz Fabrication and Welding

Liz Headrick of  Fabuliz Fabrication and Welding

How did you get started as a welder/metalworker? 
I went to Pellissippi State and completed their associate program in welding which is where I learned most of what I know.  

After I graduated, I started tinkering around in my garage with the scrap and miscellaneous parts and materials I had on hand. I started making signs from old scrap metal pieces about three years ago. The artist side of what I do is completely self-taught through experiment and online research. 

What do you make, and how? 
I make anything from wall hangings and yard stakes to small sculptures and end tables.  

Where are your products offered for sale?  
SoKno Market in South Knoxville, Dogwood and Friends in Clinton, and Etsy   

Originally from Southern California, Liz Headrick moved to Knoxville in 2013. She graduated from Pellissippi State Community College with an associate degree in welding in 2017.  

Headrick says, “I’ve been in Knoxville for almost eight years now and I love it here.”  

Earrings Brigid KO Designs Ring Brigid KO Designs

Brigid Oesterling, Brigid KO Designs

Brigid Oesterling of Brigid KO Designs

How did you get started as a metalworker/jewelry maker? 
I’m an artist that has worked in many different mediums. I love exploring new techniques and working with different materials, and I’ve always loved fun and unique jewelry pieces, so I decided to teach myself to make jewelry by watching videos. With a lot of trial and error, I have slowly built up my skill, and improved my tools and techniques. Creating small-batch unique pieces and designs keeps me inspired. I continue learning every time I sit down at my jeweler's bench! 

What do you make, and how? 
Unique, sculptural jewelry pieces like rings, earrings, necklaces, and other accessories. I use a torch and hand tools to manipulate the metals, like sheets of silver and spools of thick brass wire. Recently I’ve also been working on some sculptural and functional home goods -- wall pieces, spoons, salt bowls and salad servers. I primarily work in silver and brass, often incorporating natural stones like turquoise, opal and amethyst. Everything I make, I would wear myself.  

Where are your products offered for sale? 
The 214 Magnolia Gallery, the Knoxville Museum of Art Gift Shop, and

A Knoxville, TN transplant, Brigid Oesterling is a self-taught jeweler who has participated in juried shows and exhibitions throughout the U.S. In 2019 she was awarded with a scholarship to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. This year she has the honor of being both a Bailey Grant and CERF+ Grant recipient. 

Brigid says, “You can usually find me in my studio, in the garden, riding motorbikes, or working on the 1920’s house that I live in with my partner and two kitties. I also love to travel and I’ve been lucky enough to have been many places around the world.  There is still so much more to see! Roaming around the mountains and rivers of the Southeast is also a favorite pastime -- hiking in the Smokies, swimming in the river in Big South Fork -- and, of course, wearing a ring on every finger.”  

BAPO Designs Chairs BAPO Designs Table

Joshua and Samantha Shorey, BAPO Designs

Joshua and Samantha Shorey of BAPO Designs

How did you get started as a furniture maker?  
Joshua: I went to art school twice -- first in the early 2000s at Columbus State University in Georgia for an undergrad degree focused on ceramics. Jewelry and metalworking were part of that. Then, years later, I earned an MFA in sculpture from UT.  

I worked in aerospace manufacturing and was around a lot of hi-tech in Georgia and Boston. I fell into it by being good with objects in my hands and thinking through problems. At UT, I taught basic metalworking as part of my assistantship. By virtue of having those tools around all the time, I got excited about it.  

What do you make and how? 
Legacy-quality custom sculptural furniture, direct-to-client. Metalworking is versatile and gives you a lot of options; it’s a very robust discipline. The communication aspect is a huge part of the commissions - I try to make it kind of a story-driven process.  

I had a client early on; his father was a hobbyist woodworker and he had built this crazy shelf system. I had access to family VHS movies and the shelf was in them. I made stills, put together a schematic and created a durable, higher-end version of it in steel and hardwood. That process of deriving that personal history -- I just latched on to that. 

Where are your products offered for sale? 
Once in a while I’ll just make things. But our work is hyper-custom; we start when clients contact us. 865-888-6964,, 

Born in Maine, Joshua Shorey first developed his love of objects because of his antique collector mom. “I spent a lot of time around those old, precious things, admiring the time and the artistry in them.” 

After earning his undergraduate degree, he worked in the aerospace industry and taught at a university in central China, where he met his wife Samantha, who was teaching in the school of business. The couple moved to Knoxville in 2014 where he pursued his MFA at UT. They began marketing and selling custom work as BAPO in 2017. Married in 2019, the two entrepreneurs are “a total partnership,” says Josh. “She is all of the back end: the logistics, the website, the billing, the client contact -- all of the hard structure, which allows me to be an artist and focus on pursuing my vision of excellence for my clients. I’m the balloon, she’s the string. 

“My wife and I have nomadic spirits. I was kind of expecting Knoxville to be an empty post-industrial town but was surprised and delighted to find that it such an interesting, enjoyable place to be, full of opportunity.” 

For more on The Maker City artists, please click here

For more on where to find goods by artisans of The Maker City, please click here