I found Emmett Russell on a Facebook site for metal art (the same place I found recently featured blog guest Tim Shoemaker, the dragon sculpture guy).
Emmett is so much more than metal art. His website says “custom products,” and he creates custom furniture, sculpture, clocks, and other home furnishings and fixtures.
From his website: Tell me what you want, and I will build it.
I love Emmett’s work, and I asked him to appear here on the blog.
A little background
Emmett Russell has worked in manufacturing since he was 19. He grew up surrounded by a brother and friends who were building cars and motorcycles. He bought his first motorcycle at 20.
While working and welding, fabricating, and in assembly, he was breaking down the motorcycle and rebuilding it, making modifications to its styling.
This is where it all started.
Emmett has built custom parts. He’s built cabinets for motorhomes. He’s been a team captain in building entire motorhomes. He calls himself a modern day artist/fabricator.
Emmett’s business-owning mom was a big influence for him – she’d buy run-down homes and would re-build and clean them up and sell them. He remodeled his own home (admitting he made a lot of mistakes).
Emmett is married to Nancy, they have three kids, and currently live in Columbia, MO. Back in 2002, his wife contracted a rare eye disease, all while remodeling their own home, running a day care, and having to travel eight hours twice a week for cornea transplants and subsequent, painful follow-up care.
The Russell family has experienced many challenges. Son Ethan had kidney failure and had to have a transplant (received from his mom). He also has autism. Daughter Emma was later diagnosed with the same kidney disease as Ethan, has had kidney failure, and is waiting for a transplant. The family had to move several times to be near the medical care they needed.
Through all the moves, wife Nancy was taking online classes and Emmett started a home improvement business with just a welder and some basic tools.
Emmett says, “I had always dreamed of working out of my garage and making cool things but didn’t know if I could ever do it. I have been busy since the third day we moved here and haven’t stopped. Home improvement has paid the bills and helped me improve my tooling for my custom fabrication I am so driven to do. Our goal is for me to have a shop at home so Nancy can have a career and I can take care of Ethan while she is at work.”
What influences does Emmett have?
“My older brother Tony has been the biggest influence on me. I have always wanted to be talented like him. He kept me near when he was doing projects and always answered questions.
My wife Nancy has always been behind me in my art and my dream. She handles the kids and the house when she is home so I can work in the garage.
My mother has been a huge support and influence. Mom thought me to never give up! She taught me my work ethic and how to talk to people as a professional. Mom has always had her own business, and in the last few years she has funded a lot of my projects. She said she wanted the playhouse caboose (pictured). After it was done I felt like I could build anything I wanted. It looked just like I envisioned it. That gave me confidence. Since then she has funded a few others and it has helped me grow tremendously.”
Want to see more?
Visit Emmett on his website at www.russellbilt.com. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.