A Gallery of Ideas- 307 Metal Works Was Born Out of Necessity
It was never supposed to be a passion project or a labor of love. For Jason Dye, owner of 307 Metal Works, the projects that he and his crew created in their spare time wasn’t because of some unfulfilled desire to create art.
It was to survive.
“At the time [making these decorations] was almost out of necessity, just to keep the lights on for our fabrication business,” Dye stated. “We were selling it out of our fab shop. Everything plummeted so hard, that we didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity for a whole lot of work, so we were just trying to come up with the best ideas we could and around Christmas time of that year, we started building the wall hangings.”
Those wall hangings that he spoke of were strewn about the new 307 Metal Works shop, located on David Street, next door to Metro Coffee Co. and right across the street from The David Street Station, are beautiful. They are metal sheets cut into Wyoming-proud décor. From crosses, to cowboys to buffalos emblazoned with the 307, these pieces of art a must-have for any Wyoming citizen. They are truly a sight to behold, but they started out as simply a way to make ends-meet.
“We own a fabrication shop here in Casper, Double D Welding,” Dye said. “It’s a very oil field-driven shop, so we try to spread our wings as wide as we can and get away from that as much as we can, as often as we can.”
When the oilfield was not bringing in as much revenue as Dye and his crew needed, they turned toward creating art, a hobby that Dye had been practicing in his free time at his own home.
“A number of years ago, we started building this kind of stuff, ornamental stuff, fire pits, outdoor bars, different things like that,” Dye said.
“I started with my own backyard. I took some pictures and did some networking, met with a couple different outdoor furniture places and Keyhole Outdoor Living took us on and they started selling our products on their floor.”
In addition to Keyhole, Dye began selling some of his work via various social mediums, which garnered enough attention (and dollars) to warrant having its own “space,” which Dye called 307 Metal Works.
As business picked back up in the oilfield, Dye and his crew got busy as well. But his other work was always in the back of his mind.
“Once business started regenerating in the oilfield, a little bit came back and we started to see a lot more work and influx come through the fabrication shop,” he said. “It would have been very easy to let this go by the wayside. So that kind of spurred me to want to open a storefront, to keep it in the forefront of our minds, moving forward with all of this stuff, that it wouldn’t just get washed over when we’d get busy doing everything else. This kind of keeps everything fresh.”
307 Metal Works took up shop in the Wolcott Galleria, an area that it occupied until December of 2018. Then, Dye decided, it was time to be closer to the center of Downtown Casper.
“It’s been kind of a whirlwind for the last couple years because the original storefront was in the Wolcott Galleria,” Dye said. “We opened about a week before the Eclipse and kind of tried to get in on that. It worked out well. That was a good location for us but I think sitting idle and being content with anything [in life] is not a good thing. There’s always room for improvement, no matter what level of business you’re on. We’re always looking to grow and expand.”
That’s exactly what they did, by stationing themselves right across the street from the David Street Station. In addition to its location, 307 has also supplied work for various other Downtown Casper businesses, including The Gaslight Social.
“We built all the bar tops at the Gaslight, and all the steelwork over there. They had a unique idea and we were lucky to be a part of it.”
Unique ideas are nothing new to Dye and the crew behind 307 Metal Works. They have designed everything from signs, to fire pits, to mirrors, barbeques and more. All of which celebrate the pride that comes naturally to Wyoming-ites.
“We’re kind of a unique state with roots that people don’t take for granted. We’re not like a big state that has multiple athletic programs or colleges or universities, so we’re a very small, hometown-like feel. Everybody is very proud of what Wyoming is based off of.”
It is that pride that caused Dye to start welding 307 memorabilia in the first place, and it’s that same pride that is etched in every piece of work he and his team create.
Whether it’s an idea the guys have or something brought to that by an interested party, Jason says he and his team can take on any project, large or small.
Looking around his shop, Dye said that “this is just kind of a gallery of ideas. We sell a handful of things off the wall here, but a lot of things that come in are special ordered. They have an idea coming in here about what they want. We kind of run with it and bounce ideas off of them and it’s back and forth until we key in what the ideal object is for them.”
307 Metal Works didn’t start out in an ideal situation. It didn’t start out as a passion project or a labor of love. But, over the course of the years, that is exactly what it has become. Some artists need palates or paper. Other artists need a guitar or a pen and paper. For Jason Dye and the rest of his team at 307, well, metal works just fine.