I’ve been clambering over scrapyard heaps for about 25 years (on and off) and it still thrills me to go hunting in them. My friends’ Dad, Mick, worked in a scrapyard in Cirencester decades ago and introduced me to scrapyard wonderland. Mountains of metal in all shapes and sizes; colourful writhing wires, crying to be resuscitated. Once upon a time it was a cheap way to find materials. Skips aren’t quite as exciting, but they are cost free.
My scraptor exploits are getting a bit crazy of late. I have a scrap zone in my garden, and it’s getting a bit out of hand. When I co-founded the Scraptors group 2 years ago and subsequently became a Green Capital Artist in Residence for Bristol’s Big Green Week ’12, friends and the public donated numerous items, some of which I turned into sculptures for related trails and exhibitions. Now a recent commission (Abundance) via SAW/NGS has given me more reason to go rummaging. Recycled materials feature strongly in the pieces I’m creating for it.
Owners of the garden at Esotera, where my Abundance work will be installed in September, gave me a large pile of wire for the work. Last week I returned to a skip I’d come across armed with snips to extract some springs from a dumped sofa (with permission from the owner). I got some funny looks as I struggled to cut the steel, straddled on top.. Today I dragged back a large rusty steel barrel from a local quarry I frequent and have been avidly collecting bits on dog walks. Let’s hope the resulting work is worth my garden turning into a scrapyard. After this project I might sell the leftovers back to the yard, have a scrap free garden for a while and grow nice flowers.