Elk Rapids, Michigan
In 1974 while living in Seattle I began my career in the foundry. Seattle had a number of small non-ferrous foundries catering to the fishing industry. I determined that I would learn this trade and apply it to making art. Since I had started in the leather business I bought and sold a lot of belt buckles. Making belt buckles would be my way into the art foundry. Fraser Bronze of Seattle was a father and son operation and they were very helpful in getting me started. I would make patterns for my buckles and John Fraser would show me how to improve on my methods and then cast the buckles for me. After finishing them in my basement workshop, I would make road trips around the country selling the line of buckles and so began my life in bronze casting.
With some years of practice and observation I decided it was time to open my own foundry. I moved back to my home state of Michigan where I could be closer to my family and friends. Through the years 1978-2000 I built and grew the business to the point of employing full time help and selling my sculpture nationwide. In 2000 I decided to implement a big change. I placed a small classified in a foundry trade magazine to sell the patterns and the rights to make my line of products that I had been producing since 1978. A large foundry purchased the line and still produces it under the name Nelles Bronze Sculpture. In the meantime I put myself to work on creating an entirely new line of pieces. It is this work that is showcased by the toy cars, boats, candlesticks and small animals that I now make in my studio. Both lines of work are available for purchase from me and in galleries nationwide.