Heavy Metal

Story by Kylee Seifert | Photography by Andrew Jason

It all started in 1988. In a studio six and a half feet wide by 30 feet long and rented for $400 a month. Metal guru, Dave Badman, intended on keeping up with that business for six months. Twenty-five years later, he’s still at it.

Badman, who somewhat stumbled into the business of metal, has come a long way since that small building back in 1988 but he’ll never forget that studio where all the magic began.

While attending school at the University of North Dakota, a professor suggested that he take a jewelry making class. He thought it was a bit feminine but eventually agreed to dive into jewelry making anyway. Little did he know, it would lead him in the direction of his life long hobby and career.

The Badman studio is now located in downtown Grand Forks and he has added two companions on the way. Holly Foltz, who has been working with him for 11 years, “runs the store,” according to Badman. Mark Harmen, does everything the other two can’t. He finds a way to create things that seem impossible. This makes up what Badman calls his “design group.”

He has a unique way of going about things. If asked to repeat a product, he won’t do it. Instead, he will redesign it into something fresh. You won’t find any computer or hand drawings of his work around because he’d rather dive into the project and go with his instinct. “I try to build up a relationship with my clients to a point where they trust my word. Because I can draw them something, but it won’t look anything like what I can actually create.”

The team has created extravagant pieces, such as a conference table that weighed 850 pounds. They finished it in excitement only to find out that the table had to somehow make its way to the second floor. After seven guys, a huge moving van, a scissor lift, suction cups, ropes and a very nervous Badman, the table finally arrived at its final destination in one piece. He is also known for creating a piece which is displayed hanging from the center of the UND Wellness Center, which he was chosen to do out of a nation wide search. However, he finds that sometimes it’s the small things that tend to be the most challenging of pieces.


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