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Turning Trash into Art

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The world of “found art” is a fascinating one.  Many people have made amazing art collections by gathering things that other people would think of as trash, and turning them into stunning sculptures and works of art.  There are many things that count as “found art”.  Some people collect driftwood and dry it out, paint it, or frame it.  Other people convert antique or retro electronics into storage and ornaments, and still more use their skill with a welding rotator to convert scrap metal into art.

Eco Art for All

Eco Art is a rapidly expanding niche.  One interesting seller of eco-art is the Wonder Welders project.  This project is run by a group of disabled people in Tanzania.  The welders are all people who suffered Polio infections during their childhood, and have been left with long term disabilities.   A local welding expert taught them how to use welding equipment, and they now make small sculptures out of scrap metal.

Turning Trash into Art

Over the last couple of years, Wonder Welders has grown into a self-sufficient enterprise.  They sell  a range of hand-made products (some metal, some wooden, and even hand-made recycled paper), and also produce custom orders for international buyers.

Scrap Sculptures

Found art doesn’t have to be limited to small scale pieces.  There are many people that make huge sculptures and garden ornaments out of scrap metal, damaged vehicles, and other large items.

While many of these sculptures are large, that does not make them any less intricate. Artist Michael Leeds, for example, made some found art bikes out of miscellaneous items that he collected over several years. One of the bikes that he made was actually put together out of old buggies that were destined for the scrap heap.  Michael Leeds’ resourcefulness and creativity is amazing.  He has a talent for finding exactly the right use for each part to create realistic, yet quirky looking vehicles.

Another amazing artist is Joe Pogan.  Pogan uses his skill with welding equipment to combine various scrap metal items ranging from spanners to old keys, making found art animal sculptures out of them.  Each piece uses a huge number of different metal items, but the end result is breathtaking.  From a distance, the sculptures are lifelike and convincing, and when you get closer, the level of detail and the number of parts that went into making each one will astound you.

DIY Upcycling

You don’t have to own a welding rotator, or be particularly skilled in DIY, to do your own upcycling. Some paint, patience, and a basic collection of tools is all you need to turn old scrap items into interesting and attractive decorative items for your home.

Whether you choose to turn a vase into a lamp, convert damaged bowls into plant pots, or do something a little fancier, upcycling is a great start on the path towards creating your own found art.

If DIY isn’t your thing, then you can always buy items on Etsy, eBay, or direct from your favourite supplier.

This post was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Westermans International who supply machinery to welders the world over. Image courtesy of qsl.net

Turning Trash into Art

About Carol Goodwin

Carol Goodwin, CR, MCR, is President of Goodwin Heart Pine and holds Craftsman and Master Craftsman degrees from the National Wood Floor Association. She is also a Certified Hardwood Flooring Inspector, and an accredited CEU Provider.

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