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Functional art recycles the old & forgotten

by Bernadette Richards
From: Waste Watch Spring 1993

Brenna George; a multi-media artist, lives in a cabin without electricity near Osler. In the past, as the sky darkened each evening, she would light her candles stuck in bottles which doubled as candlesticks. It was on such a night that she got the idea to weld candlestick holders out of scrap metal lying around the farmyard. Her companion, Howard Boldt welder and inventor, was enthusiastic about the idea, and thus, CLANK Metal Art came into being last summer. The two make functional art, like bookends from old door knobs on lock sets, candle holders made with pieces from old bedsteads and gears, trivets from cast metal stove lids and picture frames using old stove door enclosures. Anything they find in old junk piles is fair game -- the chunky bits from-old stoves, odds and ends from old houses, horse tack and out-of-date machinery are all put to new use in their venture. Found in abandoned farmyards, covered in cow pies and rust, these pieces of scrap metal don't look like much. But beneath the rust lies lie craftsmanship of the past. They trade new candlestick holders for their metal, steel and cast iron to be sandblasted by a local business person. Then it's into the quonset hut on the Boldt farmyard to cut and weld the various bits and pieces together to make functional art. The silvery pieces of artwork are lacquered finally to prevent new rust. '"It's accessible, free, and I feel really good recycling this material, and recycling the craftsmanship that would otherwise be lost," says George, The free material has provided both George and Boldt with employment.

 

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