Every year we choose a local artist to create the actual trophies CPMA winners take home and admire forever, and this time around the maker is one Alison Brynn Ross. Chosen last month by readers of USA Today as one of the country's top 10 craft makers — No. 8 to be exact — Ross' talents are on full display with this year's award: a wire-sculpted microphone attached to a paint-splattered block of wood.
A 12-year local F&B industry veteran, Ross began playing around with making animal shapes with steel and copper wire as recently as two years ago, "I made a little lamb's head, a goofy-looking little thing, and it was just the head so it looked like it should be mounted," she says. "And so my husband cut out a shield out of a cedar shingle and mounted it on there, and it's still the only one that I've kept." Now her playful creatures range from birds and deer to fish and gators. "I'm an animal nerd. I know things about all of the animals I make," she says. "So this is basically my nerdery coming out." Since CP first profiled Ross last year, her business has flourished, with the artist traveling now to a show every month and signing on with an art consultant group, who's hooked her up with both large installation work and mass production projects — meaning these animals are officially her bread and butter. "I'm a wire taxidermist for a living, which is ridiculous," she says. "It's just as ridiculous as it sounds."