Waldorf resident Steve Glorius has turned his passion for welding into an artform, using an oxygen acetylene torch to sculpt scrap metal into works of beauty.
Glorius is a 1984 graduate of Thomas Stone High School, where a cougar he made is now on display on top of the school sign.
Glorius said that since childhood he’s been an artist, drawing by hand, but his metal sculpting began when he was working at J&J IronWorks and Builders Steel Supply Co. in Clinton, where he worked on and off for 12 years.
“I was an iron worker, working on I-beams. I was working on railings on first, then I switched over to the steelyards, where I worked on I-beams and columns for houses and small structural buildings,” Glorius said.
In 1993, Glorius started using the scrap iron to make things.
“I started making little animals [with the iron]. Everyone in the shop wanted one, so I’d make them one; I was making small stuff at first, then it started getting bigger, more elaborate, and people started wanting to buy them,” Glorius said.
Glorius carefully hand-cuts each piece using an oxygen-acetylene torch, then he grinds off the slag and welds the pieces together using a welding machine.
The iron Glorius uses is supplied by Jimmy Williams of the Prince Frederick based company R&R Fabrication Inc.
His work depicts nature, particularly animals, including a peacock, sharks, dolphins, dragons, turtles and more. Glorius said it takes several weeks to complete a piece.
His 600-pound “Great White Shark” was displayed at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons.
Glorius has traveled to the Hamptons on Long Island to sell his work, and has met celebrities such as Billy Bob Thornton and Susan Lucci, and even sold pieces of artwork to the likes of Mariel Hemingway and Susan Rockefeller.
“I am an avid collector of emerging artists that have a ecological message to their work,” Rockefeller said in an email. “Steve Glorius is a sculptor whose work I admire and I love the sculpture I bought that is evocative of the magnificence of our charismatic whales swimming in pods in the ocean. He incorporates found materials into his work bringing the viewer to address issues of our precious marine resources. Steve highlights the beauty and mystery of our marine species as well as their plight threatened by plastic pollution and overfishing. Steve’s work is timely, visually strong and beautifully crafted.”
Glorius said it’s sometimes difficult to let go of the pieces he creates.
“I hate to sell the things, I get attached to them, they’re my babies. But now I think it’s time to let them go,” Glorius said.
Glorius has created a number of custom pieces, including a peacock, entitled “Praying for a Miracle,” which he created three years ago, dedicated to a friend, Jennifer Peacock, who suffered a traumatic head injury.
Glorius has also entered his works in all three Southern Maryland county fairs. He said his work will be shown in the Shark Bar in Waldorf and he has donated a piece to Hospice of Charles County.
Currently, some of his work is on display for sale at Creative Expressions by the Bay in North Beach. Co-owner Doris Louhi said the store serves as a platform for local artists in various mediums to put their work out there for the public.
Currently, Glorius’ statue of a seahorse is at the store.
“Steven has a wonderful graphic talent in metalwork,” Louhi said. “It’s not stylized, but it has its own style. It’s very beautiful and unique.”
Glorius said he has also been mentoring his nephew Christopher Burtch.
“He’s drawing right now; he doesn’t know how to use a torch, but I’m going to teach him all that,” Glorius said.
Glorius said he creates works of art for the joy it brings him and others.
“I create my sculptures because I love adding beauty to our world, I like that it makes people happy with what they see and it makes me feel good to bring smiles to their faces,” Glorius said.
Glorius and his works can be found on Facebook and Instagram.