A Resourceful Metalworker Keeps His Roots in California


Not everyone dreams of being a city slicker. For many, the silhouette of a silo and the beauty of a barn are far more inspiring than any high-rise.

Sonoma County native Ray Degischer once considered leaving California, but he couldn’t quite make a compelling case for living and working elsewhere. As a metalworker and the owner of Healdsburg-based Country Industrial, he finds everything he needs for his business within easy reach of where he grew up. “There are so many resources here,” says Degischer. He crafts sophisticated accessories out of industrial scrap, such as giant gears, hooks and sheet metal discarded by local wineries, Humboldt County logging stations and coastal fishing fleets.

“I’m not one to be too proud of one area, because I’ve traveled around the world, but California is a rich state. You can be in 120-degree heat in Death Valley, be surrounded by glacier-carved granite in Yosemite or be fishing for salmon out in the Pacific Ocean,” says Degischer, who mentally journeyed through California’s coastal destinations while making this hanging chalkboard. “I was working my way down the shoreline as I cut,” he says. The salvaged steel’s deeply rusted surface also evokes a second landscape: the ocher Nevada desert to the east. The unique patina of aged materials is one reason Degischer prefers discarded objects to new. “I go to the scrap yard for inspiration,” he says. “I like having the piece tell me what to make of it.”

This was originally published in California Home + Design’s Fall 2013 issue. Click here to subscribe.

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