The story of “Sterling and Steel” is really a story about contrast and compliment. From the beginning, Nicole and Harry have been a study in contrast.
Nicole grew up in the Colorado Rockies, living in the small town of Nederland until the age of nine, when she moved to the city of Boulder.
Harry grew up in the deserts and mountains of Arizona, living off grid and remote until moving to a small tree farm nine miles from Sedona when he was thirteen.
Nicole was educated in the traditional sense, graduating from Boulder High. Harry was home schooled, never completing high school. Instead, working alongside his Dad, learning to weld and fabricate from a young age.
Nicole grew up in a award winning custom jewelry store. Working alongside her parents and being exposed to the beautiful craftsmanship that comes from fine jewelry and art.
Their stories converge when Nicole came to Sedona in the summer of 1991 to visit her aunt. She heard that Harry had horses to ride and as she had spent several summers as a Summer Camp wrangler, she missed riding and interacting with them. Their mutual passion for horses brought them together.
When they met, they immediately discovered kindred spirits in one another! Talking for hours over their love of horses and their shared interests in metalsmithing, hers in precious metals and his in iron and steel.
Fast forward a decade and you find Nicole and Harry in Salida, Colorado. They moved here in 1997 when they decided to leave Arizona and move back to the mountains. Harry started a farrier business and Nicole started her metalsmithing career.
In 2001, “Sundance Catalog” came to Salida, looking for five artist to feature in their Christmas edition and they chose Nicole because of her work in Sterling silver, and the very elegant, contemporary candle holders she was creating. However, upon further discussion, the catalog committee decided her pieces were a little too refined for their audience as they tended towards a more rustic motif. But, when Nicole had been initially interviewed she had mentioned to them that her husband was a farrier and blacksmith. So they came back with the suggestion that perhaps we design a couple pieces together and submit those for consideration. At which point, we looked at each other, slapped our foreheads, and said, “why didn’t we think of that?”. And Sterling and Steel was born.
Nicole and Harry continued making a few pieces together on a part time basis when time allowed, while continuing to work at their respective businesses, and adding two amazing children to their family, as well as building an off grid home. In the meantime Sterling and Steel was slowly going dormant.
Fast forward again, to July 1st 2012, Harry was working that Sunday trimming hooves for a client, and was nearly done when a young horse was brought out. As he was trimming a hind foot, the horse jerked its foot out of his grasp and kicked it back into his face, catching him under the jaw. The blow shattered several teeth and left him with a traumatic brain injury. Harry spent several weeks in a darkened room and 18 months with an all but constant headache and noticeable cognitive deficits.
About six months into Harry's recovery, Nicole and he started talking about reviving Sterling and Steel, but this time they would try and build it into a fulltime business. Shortly after that they rented their first workshop and began building a new business. It took three more years before Harry could leave the farrier business behind and begin blacksmithing fulltime, but as he sits here sharing this, looking forward to the next chapter in their story, he is feeling like they are right where they need to be.
With the help and support of their family and friends, they have built a successful business by embracing not just the contrasts of the materials they use, but also the contrasts from life itself, using their struggles and successes as inspiration to create new and beautiful designs.