Why Scrap Art?
I had the run of the workshop from the earliest I can remember. I could weld by the time I was 10 yo and built my own soap box to race in the annual derby when I was 11 yo coming second. From over 50 years of building machinery on a shoe string budget and running our fruit orchard I’ve discovered a passion to utilise these skills to create metal art.
Not surprising that the memories of my black smith grand father have engendered in me a love for scrap metal and how to re-purpose it now from cogs and chain, forged springs…. finding the old fashioned curves from that bygone era the very heart of a beautiful sculpture. Retirement now has a spring in my step! Suddenly my scrap heap wasn’t diverse enough and the word went out. From a “chance” meeting over breakfast at a motel, a retired wheat farmer invited me to check his scrap out ( I’m talking gold mine of horse drawn wheat strippers, wooden spoked carts, wheels….).
The fun is in the chase! The learning doesn’t stop. I’ve found that engineers give their advice freely and strike a comraderie over our common interest in metal.
My eye is drawn to shapes and colours now where I used to see utility and function. It’s like someone has dipped a paint brush in my vision!
And I’m drawn to share this exuberance in what I make, styling curved steel to shoulders and feathers, imagining as I weld the strength of flight. I often spend inordinate time just looking through the scrap heap and thinking on the weight and curve I need.
I love rust now! It has its own story to tell, the rust pitting speaking of the years like wrinkles and wear and tear a language of faithful service of a close friend. So many of these “scraps” hold personal memories of yesteryear like the mole board plough I used under our vines in Spring.
Brian grew up in South Australia at Waikerie situated on the River Murray which flows through four states of Australia. A third generation fruit grower whose paternal grandfather arrived as a pioneer settler to take up a “malley scrub” block in 1910. Much of South Australia bordering the Murray is arid and suports sheep grazing and wheat farming. Orchards thrive in the mediterranean type climate irrigated from the Murray. Tough and frugal would describe life in Waikerie. Making ends meet is a way of life. One of seven children, Brian learned to pull his weight of household chores. Most school holidays were spent picking apricots and grapes. As the only son it was expected that he take over the fruit growing business. Brian and Julia will celebrate 50 years of marriage this year and have 3 children and 3 grand children. He holds a Diploma in Horticulture along with two Diplomas in theological studies as preparation for over a decade of christian mission service in Africa. It is said of a farmer that he can fix anything with pliers and fencing wire! With that expectation, Brian tackled making machinery that was needed from spray plants, trailers to fork lifts and sheds, vehicle servicing and thousands of hours driving tractors, which unfortunately has left him rather deaf.