FireFly Pits / Custom Aesthetics joins Duluth business

by Jordan Bissell

Tobias Lawson, independent welder and business owner, has joined the Duluth fold. As of a few months ago, this artist has revisited  his love of independent metalworking, and the Northland. Lawson is the sole-proprietor and main artist of Custom Aesthetics, a metalworking business he created many years ago. Now expanded with a new line recently of artisan fire-pits he calls FireFly Pits. 

Lawson originally hails from our Northland, born and raised in Grand Marais. He eventually relocated to Minneapolis for college. Lawson attended the Minneapolis School of Art and Design for metalworking, and decided to stay in the Twin Cities after college. Custom Aesthetics was born, and Lawson worked independently doing custom jobs for the next three years. Lawson went on after that to work for the Science Museum of Minnesota as a fabricator, creating exhibits for the museum with welding, machining, and woodworking. After eight years with the museum, they eventually had a large layoff of many of their fabricators, including Lawson, so he chose to take on a different welding job. He quickly realized he would much rather be his own employer, and converted his garage in North Minneapolis to be his personal studio. Custom Aesthetics was reborn, and FireFly Pits along with it. 

Lawson’s artisan fire-pits are just the kind of thing Duluthians appreciate. Hand crafted, made of Core 10 Steel, a weathering steel that develops its own natural patina, protecting it from oxidizing. Core 10 Steel is often used in shipyards, and other outdoor  industries for that very reason, perfect for leaving outdoors in Duluth’s erratic weather. Lawson also makes custom fire-pokers, and expressed that he wants to possibly go in the direction of outdoor furniture swell, to pull together Custom Aesthetics together as a more of a complete lifestyle company. Lawson realized Duluth may just be the perfect home for this business, and is planning to expand to a warehouse space, preferably in our West Duluth district. Lawson said, “I hope to someday have my own space in Duluth, to employ talented local welders, and pay them well,” something we can all appreciate. Those who have a grasp of economics know, making things locally and creating jobs is always a good thing. Owner of Duluth Grill, Tom Hanson, took a notice to FireFly Pits, and offered to host them at the restaurant. So, though Lawson hasn’t yet found his dream warehouse in Duluth quite yet, you can still check out the fire-pits outside of Duluth Grill and purchase one there. 

Another option of procuring his metalwork is via contacting him from his website, the construction of the online store is still in progress, however the site in and of itself is running, and Lawson is very keen to speak with anyone interested. 

For more info, or if you’d like to contact Custom Aesthetics, visit