Friday, 28 June 2013

Making art from junk

While driving back and forth between Melbourne and South Australia to do our PDC we passed through the tiny town of Ki Ki.  Blink and you'd miss it..........well you would if it wasn't for the huge wire animals perched on the roof of the Recycled Wireworks Gallery.  With a facade like that we had to stop and have a look.

Run by David and Maggie Forsyth, the gallery is a showcase for David's creative use of scrap wire, metal and glass.  Old fencing wire, spring mattresses, bits of tin and things that are generally considered rubbish by other people, become creative inspiration for David. As well as collecting junk from the side of the road he volunteers to remove the 'rubbish' from people's properties. In David's hands this rubbish becomes unique pieces of art, for sale at the gallery or by commission.

With tattoos covering one side of his face, David is not your average looking artist, but get him talking about recycling waste into art and you see how passionate he is about it.  He was kind enough to give us a tour of some of the pieces he had currently in the gallery.

A palm tree made from fencing wire and glass 

large bird

bee made from wire and glass



David with one of his creations
Inside the gallery building itself are plenty of smaller pieces. We couldn't resist buying this set of 3 penguins:

David will also do an on the spot portrait in wire for $15.  Watching him deftly bend and shape the old wire was a treat.  And the portrait of me with my round glasses was surprisingly accurate :)
So if you happen to be driving along the Dukes Hwy in South Australia and pass the town of Ki Ki, it's definitely worth making a stop at the Recycled Wireworks Gallery. Turning rubbish into art - what's not to like about that?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Have you heard of the Urban Bush Carpenters?

We like to see things saved from land fill and given a new life, so when a friend pointed us to the website for the Urban Bush Carpenters, we were keen to go along to one of their workshops.

These guys find discarded timber around town (mainly pallets) and teach people to turn them into useful items like planter boxes, cube shaped stools and other items. They're all about reducing waste, encouraging urban food production and increasing community reliance by teaching people basic woodworking skills. That's permaculture in action!

The workshops are held at Ceres community environment park and are free, however a $5 donation is required from each particpant to help cover the cost of things such as drills, saws, nails and other materials. There's no need to register - just turn up on the day.

Don't worry if you don't have much in the way of handyperson skills. These guys are great teachers and very friendly.  You'll get hands-on experience using different tools and get to build up your experience and your confidence, plus have some fun in the process.

At the end of workshop, should you want to take home what has been built, this is possible for an additional donation decided on the day.

We went to a couple of workshops and made:

A planter box, that we use for holding firewood kindling

A cube-shaped stool ...or box, depending on which way is up. Ours finds use mainly as an outside table/workbench but also provides an extra seat if needed.

We even took along some rounds of wood for everyone to have a go at making roof shingles using a froe. Using the froe certainly gave us all a new respect for those who are skilled at making shingles by hand.

Photo source

Check out the UBC website to see what workshops are coming up. It's also a good excuse to visit Ceres if you haven't made it there yet.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Backyard Inspiration

We heat our home with wood, so cutting and stacking the firewood is an ongoing job.

Believe it or not, firewood stacking can be a thing of beauty...

Wood 'art' aside, the example below is very practical, yet still pleasing to the eye:

Food Forest woodpile

Apart from neatly holding the wood, the corrugated iron keeps it nice and dry. Which would come in handy for those wet winter days. 

Our wood is stacked along the north side of our house under the eaves. Here the wood is reasonably sheltered from the rain but still gets good sun to dry it out. 

Once winter arrives it seems like you can never have too much wood, so having some extra wood storage space would be nice. Discarded corrugated iron suddenly has new appeal...

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3