Artistic prowess flows through metalworker Jerry Bement’s blood, but after 36 years of crafting his signature silhouettes, he’s ready to pass the blowtorch to his equally talented daughter.
Artistic prowess flows through metalworker Jerry Bement’s blood, but after 36 years, he’s ready to pass the blowtorch to his talented daughter.
What do cowboys of the Wild West and impressionist paintings in the French style have in common? If your answer is “not much,” then you don’t know Jerry Bement. A former farrier, this self-taught artist and metalworker is the great-nephew of renowned American artist Mary Cassatt, who collaborated with French impressionist Edgar Degas. Though Jerry’s medium is metal, not paint, the family’s creative lineage is evident and continues on through his teenaged daughter, Jiggs.
“Jiggs is an awesome artist and is mature beyond her years,” Jerry says with pride. “As I’m getting older and slowing down, she has started learning the business from top to bottom. She does everything from taking orders to design work. She’s a pretty impressive 18-year-old.”
Jerry’s first foray into what became his life’s passion was a weathervane he crafted for a friend in 1980. “It was quite a bit easier to make that than it was to shoe a horse, even though the artwork was all hand drawn and cut,” he says. “There weren’t any CNC [computerized cutting] machines that are widely available today. Now, we can scan an image and plasma-cut it, making our work faster, more affordable and more consistent.”
In the late ’80s, Jerry stopped “horsing around,” jumped into his artistic career and JDub’s Metalworks was born. He started by exhibiting at consumer shows, traveling to key markets in the West. His work was so popular, he routinely sold out of everything he brought.
In the mid-1990s, Jerry introduced custom-crafted architectural balcony panels to his collection, which were an immediate hit – especially in the log home market. He expanded to fireplace screens, signs, doors and gates. Ranchers were particularly interested in the latter, commissioning him to craft grand entries to their property, and one of the most impressive greetings was to top the gateway with the “30 Cowboys.”
SHOWN HERE: From his Washingtonstate shop, JDub’s Metalworks, Jerry Bement has developed a distinctive style that’s requested the world over.
ABOVE: Eighteen-year-old Jiggs is the next generation of artists
in this talented family.
ABOVE: Jerry is the creator of the original “30 Cowboys,” which can be customized to contain as many rough riders as you please.
ABOVE: An intricate steel-and-bronze fire screen Jerry wrought for the “House of Mouse.”