It all started with the state of Wisconsin and with a desire to own the ability to cast art/design ideas in metal...
Along with a skeleton crew of friends/artists in Milwaukee, we figured out how to build our first cupola furnace for melting iron. On Thanksgiving Day 2009, we managed to melt our first ladle of iron in our little backyard foundry, and from there, the first state-shaped skillet of Wisconsin was born.
The success of building a little foundry was a celebration of craft and the American Dream. Making a skillet in the shape of Wisconsin was the simplest statement I could think of at the time, to express pride in our homemade enterprise.
After the “Made In America” art piece was completed, the big (9' x 6', 550 lbs) cast iron map grabbed a fair share of attention - first traveling to Grand Rapids Michigan for its debut at ArtPrize, then visiting Martha Stewart in New York, twice, in 2012! Watch our video here.
Along the way, we’ve collected some awesome feedback and encouragement from customers, retailers, and even a load of awesome people from all over the USA who’d seen the art piece and felt compelled to call me up and share with me their stories of heirloom cast iron pans from their great grandmother or their favorite recipes for the cast iron pans they have still. It was SO inspiring for us to hear that and we are incredibly appreciative of their bold and selfless move to share these positive reactions to the art work with us!
Through artistic motivation, positive feedback and our joint entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve been driven to pursue a commercial enterprise with roots in the soils of the American dream.
We hope to return that positive support to the larger public by releasing state-shaped skillets under the name American Skillet Company using All-American manufacturing.
The commercially produced series will offer:
An unlimited opportunity for people to own a piece of our story outside the original art piece
Deep, smooth walls for greater utility & easy cleaning
Lighter overall design than the art pieces
A consistent (* and lower!) retail price
National presence in hand-picked retail stores all across the US
NEW YORK OR BUST
After a year long regional pilot project producing Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota skillets, we've decided the next state-shaped skillet to be commercially produced is NEW YORK. It’s just the first state of hopefully many to come that will be available quantities large enough for purchase on a national level. We choose New York because of the relationships we have developed over this past year while showing the art piece, the number of future potential retailers, our large fan base, their extraordinary foodie scene, and of course NY has a dense population of great craft and design lovers.
Pledge your support at our $25 level -- "CAST" Your Vote -- and you will help us decide what state comes next!
We know that $45,000 is no flash in the pan! * pun intended! sorry! *
We figure that to break even and avoid a loan or debt during our first move into a national market, we need to find homes for about 400 of the first New York skillet run.
Through this Kickstarter project we hope to fund the building of our next industrial foundry tool and also purchase our first minimum order of pans - which you all are so eagerly awaiting.
This foundry tool will be used forever to make the New York skillet castings. Our project goal will also help us cover all the packaging, labeling and freight costs for the pans to get to us and then out to you.
If, by your most awesome support we exceed our goal, excess funding will be used to develop the next tools on the list and set in motion the means to share our dream turned reality, with you wonderful people. There are 40+ more states that the people want to see get created so we've got a good challenge here. So in the words of Norman D.Vaughn "Dream BIG and dare to fail."
Support American Craft - 100% American manufactured
Support Form & Function - Kitchen design element with a utilitarian edge
Support Your Foodie Habit - It's fully functional and fun to use
Support Your Friends - A unique idea for - a wedding gift, a going away present, a tailgating party, cabin decor, collectors of fine shaped things, the serial backyard BBQ'er, the friend who has everything.
Support the Beginning of This Story, And You Can Become A Part of This Great American Dream!
This rad little video was shot & cut by Father/Daughter duo : Nick Nebel & Leisha Taylor @ Nebula Studios in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. **heart heart**
>>> AND SOME VERY SPECIAL SHOUT OUTS... <<<
We simply couldn't have made it this far without ya's ! :::
> OUR BFF's :
Andrew McManigal - My muse Amplitude Design Locavore Roar (Madison, WI) - helping us spread the word Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Precision Pattern Co. (Milwaukee, WI) Roloff Mfg. (Kaukauna, WI) - for letting us tape for 2 days in their factory Smith Foundry (Minneapolis, MN) - for starting us out! Underground Food Collective
AND ALL our interns: MEG & CRAIG, Jared Ottman, Nick Jones, Mary Hoffman,
OH! And of course, Mom and Dad ;}
# # #
Risks and challenges
Every effort will be made on our part to deliver these pans on the schedule outlined in the rewards. We are working with a new, but exceptional and reliable manufacturer in the US; however they are out of state and our communications/proofing and revising process takes time. We will keep our backers informed through email and will be available for any questions or concerns along the way. Thank you for your support!
A: Nope. The scale of the art piece is such that some skillets in the final map are just too small, ( Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, .. lots of east coast states ;} _ or too large ( Texas, Arizona, Idaho, California.. you get it.. ) to be of any usable function. The pans made from American Skillet Company are re-designed for utility, ergonomics, and overall practically, like being able to fit on a stove-top, carry with one hand, and fit normal meal-sized portions into them.
A: No, these pans come pre-seasoned and ready to rock n’ roll right out of the box. Cast iron is a living cookware though, so overall care to keep it well seasoned is always up to the hands of the beholder.
A: A proprietary blend of vegetable oil is used to season each of the American Skillet Company’s cast irons for cooking. No animal fats are used for this process~ so rest assured, these pans are vegan + kosher friendly products ;}
"CAST" A VOTE - Web acknowledgement, e-thank you, that American Skillet Co. sticker, AND the link to vote on which state-shaped skillet should be NEXT in line for production. If your voted state wins, you'll be the first to know what's up ;}
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - You'll be the earliest owner of ONE Pre-seasoned NEW YORK state shaped pan from our very first production run of this state's availability. Expecting to retail around $130, this little pan will show up in a hand-printed, special edition package just for this Kickstarter project before the 2013 Christmas season hits. All of this, the American Skillet Co. logo sticker, AND even includes shipping! Whoa-Yeah!
PAN PALS - You'll also be an inaugural-run owner of ONE Pre-seasoned NEW YORK state shaped pan that shows up in a hand-printed, special edition package just in time for the 2013 Holidays. Included in this package is also the American Skillet Co. logo sticker, and the sweet pleasure of complimentary shipping ! Hey-Yo!
MAGNETIC PERSONALITY - One pre-seasoned NEW YORK skillet and a slick little magnetic hanger that cleanly and easily displays your NY pan on the wall. Includes shipping in that special edition hand printed box & that nifty little sticker to slap onto your laptop or best friends' fridge ;}
HOT DISH HANDLER - Thank you note, web acknowledgement, sticker, ONE NEW YORK skillet, the magnetic hanger, and a special edition, artisan cast iron American Skillet Co. Logo TRIVET made only for this Kickstarter campaign. Still includes shipping in our beautiful hand-printed box before the 2013 Holidays !!
LOGO RANGER - We'll cast your own logo, image, design, or we can work out an idea with you to create a plaque that hangs as entrance way art, bolts on to concrete for an outdoor dedication site, or reveals itself as the company's new signage.
(Size of piece is limited up to 15x15 inches and any relief design under 2 inches deep in the final cast iron piece. Shipping + handling will have additional charges for backers outside of the US. You will be contacted by Alisa to start work on the design. Please expect a final casting 12-18 months from the end of this Kickstarter.)
IRON MONGER - Ever wanted to cast something in metal? See it happen first hand? Be inside the process of iron casting from start to finish? We'll fly you into the Great Midwest as a special guest to the next iron pour event that Alisa Toninato (FeLion Studios) hosts here in Madison, Wisconsin. Enjoy our Iron Mongers hospitality. We'll help you create your own piece of cast iron art for the event and find a comfortable place for you to stay and experience the best of Madison. A three-day retreat, you'll hangout crew-side with Alisa and a rad group of artists to witness the process of iron casting in all of its spectacular glory. Return home with your first piece of custom cast iron art and a brand new addiction to metal casting ;}
(Size of art piece is limited to a 20# casting, or roughly 9in x 9in x 9in. Shipping may be additional depending on your idea ! Complimentary airfare available for backers inside the Continental US only.~ And all hospitality once you get here is taken care of ;} ).