Alice the Allidile, created by Scott Korb, 2012. Alice was made from spare car parts.
Some things old become BOLD
By Niki DeGroot, NCDENR Artist Illustrator
Auto mechanic Scott Korb, of Moncure, earns extra income by incorporating old car parts and miscellaneous garage junk into his side business called Recritterations. "I started making critters for people as birthday presents after an emotional upheaval left me displaced and jobless trying to figure myself out,” Korb said. "I'd been a mechanic for a decade already and mostly I get my parts from the cars I work on, broken tools or donated scrap."
“Occasionally I will purchase what I need, like rebar for bottle trees, but my favorites are the critters I can make look like something from a few abstract parts thrown together. I've given away far more sculptures than I've sold in the last decade. If I can refrain from that for a while, I might collect enough to have a booth at the fair.”
Repurposed, or found art, is an unusual type of art that involves creating pieces from “found” objects that are not usually considered to be artistic in any way. Most of the objects used in found art had a different original purpose, and were modified to make them into art.1
One does not need the welding experience of Scott to creatively repurpose old junk. Found art can be made for free or cheaply. Crafters pore over Pinterest, and pillage garage sales for old portraits to alter the frames. Knitters use old grocery bags to be spun into colorful and waterproof “yarn,” which is called plarn. Jewelers collect sea glass, magazines and old zippers to fashion one-of-a-kind funky wares to sell at art shows. Records as bowls? The ribbon from cassette tapes as hair? The possibilities are infinite.
Pinterest is an excellent resource for repurposed art ideas.
In 2012, Denise Smith, the Creative Services director for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, created her shiny owl “Otis” from a mixed bag of metal gizmos.
“Otis was created from found objects," Smith said. “His lantern body was a yard sale purchase. He is held together with nuts and bolts and wire. The mouse in his belly is an old Christmas ornament. The decorative metal application on the wings are from a discarded western purse. No glue was used."
So take some time during the lazy days of summer to look through your old things. Before you decide to toss it out, give it a second glance with your creative eyes: could you use that to create the next hot trendy found art project? Have fun, and get crafting!
The author is a previous staff member at Durham, NC’s creative reuse warehouse, The Scrap Exchange, where she instructed children and the young at heart to make art with what is available around them. She won the People’s Choice Award in 2010 for her creative rendition of Willy Nelson, which was constructed in less than 30 minutes at the annual Iron Crafter event.
A book to start thinking outside the box of expensive paints and papers is Celebrate Your Creative Self by Mary Todd Beam. Learn fun ways to incorporate old candles, colorful tissue paper and other fun mediums already in your closets or drawers. Other books for more specific interests: cardboard reuse, handmade books, and creative planters. Two great blogs with more ideas are MakeZine and Extreme Craft.
1. Found Art | Information. TheArtCareerProjectcom. 12 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 July 2015.
Tags: found art, DIY art, repurposed art, scrap, Scrap Exchange, sustainability, creativity, recycling