Here’s a post about how I have come to making recycled art, and some of my reasoning behind it. I’ll tell you a little about my background, some of the materials and methods I use, and why I think it’s important to work in this medium.

Goat Portrait - Scrap Metal

Looking back to my early, early years, I’ve always been frugal. Sometimes by necessity, usually by choice. If something broke, I would learn how to fix it and not just replace it with something new. This line of thinking has stuck with me throughout life. I don’t buy new cars every few years – and the ones I do buy are with me for a long time! (Just check out my ’96 Suburban with almost 350,000 miles!) But when it came to artwork, I started with the traditional painting and sculpting materials, and it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I started getting serious about re-using what others consider scrap and junk.

I love yard sales and flea markets! I’ve found some of the most amazing pieces that I’ve transformed for home decor. An early project was a chandelier made from Corona Beer bottles. Fast forward to today, and now I have a school full of parts and pieces to create almost anything! But it all comes down to having a vision to look at an object and think, “What could this be?”

My start in Scrap Metal Art came when I found a dozen rusty saws at a yard sale. I bought them and soon had twelve different designs cut into them! They sold quickly, and soon I was out shopping for more! Within a few short months, I became “The Saw Lady”, known for both buying and selling saws! (It’s a name I didn’t embrace at first, if you want to know the truth!). But from saws and shovels and rakes to larger metal pieces like tumblebugs, hay hooks and more, my direction was set! I love to go out in my “Rust Corral” and look for pieces and build a vision.

Custom farm john fields cows tractor fence 1600 sig

A lot of the metal I use is just going to sit and rust if I don’t find a new vision for it. A lot of metal ends up in landfills or goes to sit in the scrap yard. My goal as a scrap metal artist is to create something COOL and have people see the possibilities in the castoff items around them. When I build something from scrap metal, people love to look closer and identify parts within the sculpture. People bring their grandfather’s saw that’s been sitting in a barn for a generation or two, and I’ll work my magic on it to tell a story. In the end, I’ve created something unique – as no two scrap metal art pieces will ever be the same.

Why Recycled Art Rocks:

  1. Eco-Friendly: It reduces waste and keeps materials out of landfills.
  2. Unique Creations: Each piece is one-of-a-kind, with its own story and character.
  3. Conversation Starters: They make great talking points and add a unique touch to any space.
  4. Inspires Creativity: It shows that with a bit of imagination, anything can be art.
Blackbirds Nest on Pedal re tired artwork from bicycle parts by cindy chinn 05 2000 sig

This year I have started a new series of work by repurposing scrap bicycle tires! I had seen some artists do amazing things with car and truck tires, but I really didn’t want to haul, move, and store something so large – but bicycle tires are MUCH easier to work with, and give me more flexibility in design and detail. As it turns out, bicycle tires are hard to recycle due to their components, so it made perfect sense to continue on this path. Thankfully, bike tires are readily available, and I can get all I want before the rest are taken to the landfill (I wish I could take them all, but I take a LOT). I love this medium, as it challenges me to find new techniques and methods for cutting, forming, and joining.

I have more plans to continue recycling materials into my artwork – I am building a smelter to melt aluminum for casting, and saving glass for future projects. In the meantime, I’ll be working with my scrap metal, salvaged bicycle tires, and of course – old pencils!

Of course, my biggest recycling project is working on the former Chester NE school building that I bought to ‘recycle’ into studio and living space!

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.


Read more about Recycled Artwork

Why I Make Recycled Artwork
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