WIRE WALL ART
- Recycling Wire
ART BIZ COACH
Toss That Wire!
you're a contractor upgrading an electrical system...
a phone or cable crew pulling old cable...
an electronics firm with a batch of wire that doesn't pass quality
a rancher getting rid of rusty field fencing, chicken wire or even
a wire sculptor sweeping wire "scraps" into a corner...
SOMEONE HAS A USE FOR THAT WIRE!
Giraffe" by Elizabeth Berrien. Recycled electric fence wire sculpture,
six feet high
|Wire sculpture, an innovative
form of metal
art, is experiencing a groundswell of popularity among educators
introducing the medium to school kids and college students. Through the
process of creative problem solving, students learn to invent as they
go - looping, weaving, twisting, braiding, even welding wire into
interesting forms. They may create wire people, animals, flowers,
aliens, spacecraft... there is no limit to the creative potential of
Grade school teachers, whose art programs are often severely
under-funded, cherish recycled wire as an art material because it is
cheap... often even free. However, many teachers don't know how to link
up with sources of recycled wire. If they don't live near a salvage
yard or recycling center, they may think they're out of luck.
This is where people with "junk wire" situations can step in. If they
call the local school district and ask for a contact in the art
department, they're bound to make a connection delighted to take
surplus wire off their hands. Some schools have volunteers available to
come pick up scrap wire - saving the original owner the bother of
hauling it off and the expense of paying dump fees. Furher, it keeps a
man-made material in circulation rather than contributing to land-fill.
Here's a lesson plan to Teach
of Wire for Artwork
no limit to the types of wire that can be recycled into artwork. Old,
obsolete and non-code electrical wire, telephone wire, co-ax cable, etc
can be re-used by artists and art students. Copper wire can be stripped
to show its original color, or left with the colored coating - for a
brighter and livelier effect.
Brightly lacquered motor winding wire gives a beautiful copper sheen to
Chicken wire and other recycled meshes can make a "skin" or shell form,
which may stand bare as a wire sculpture or be coated with paper and
paste, then painted as a paper mache art work.
Think creatively about all the different forms that recycled wire can
come in! Twist-ties, paper clips, welding rods, wire cable, and
plastic-coated wire clothesline can all be recycled into "junk art".
Old hardware cloth, fireplace screens, oven and refrigerator racks,
birdcage panels and other "retired" household wire utensils add
interest and structure to junk sculptures.
Even electric fence wire has been made into wire sculpture!
Wire Pelican" by Elizabeth Berrien. Recycled telephone wire sculpture
Sculpture is Very GREEN!
sculpture is about as GREEN
and environmentally responsible as metal art can get. Artists who make
airy, open-work wire sculptures from copper, aluminum or steel wire
consume less than 1% of the materials of solid metal art, creating
substantial works of art from tiny amounts of wire!
Openwork Wire Sculpture= 99% AIR
When wire sculptures are fabricated via "cold-formed" techniques, with
all joinery performed by hand, the wire art becomes even greener -
since welding equipment is not involved, no harmful chemical emissions
Ways to Recycle Wire
field fencing, chain link fence, chicken wire and other mesh-type
wire will be welcomed with open arms by animal rescue groups and
wildlife care centers for making kennels, cages and aviaries. Schools
use all kinds of fencing for vegetable garden projects... even to
screen compost! Rural families and small farmers always need short
scraps of fencing to protect shrubs and small trees from being chomped
on by deer...
Remember the old adage about "You can fix most anything on earth with
duct tape and baling (bailing) wire"? It's true - a half-roll of tie
wire will take care of several years' worth of quick fixes.
too much steel wire gets tossed for looking rusty... even though a
light coat of rust does not decrease the strength, structural
integrity, or lasting power of the wire to any major degree.
People throw away rusty wire because of two major myths:
WIRE MYTH #1:
Once wire starts rusting, it never stops til it rusts all the way
Truth: When exposed to moisture, steel and iron wire will oxidize
(rust), causing the surface to become brittle and friable. Since it has
a smaller cross-section, thinner wire will rust through faster than
thick wire, which may take decades to become tangibly weakened by rust.
Many artists and sculptors like the natural patina of rust, and choose
to leave their recycled wire and metal sculptures "raw".
For people who want to stop the rust process in its tracks, a special
primer called Rust Destroyer
can be sprayed right on top rust, sealing and stopping the rust
process. The product comes with a 5-year warranty, and is used on
everything from tricycles to bridges and battleships.
You can get tetanus off ALL rusty wire.
Truth: Tetanus has to come from somewhere
- usually an outdoor, animal-related source. A store-bought roll kept
on an indoor shelf can't magically acquire tetanus a a part of the rust
process, which is merely oxidation.
Tetanus is normally contracted via a puncture wound rather than casual
contact with the skin surface. Still... it's a good idea to maintain
your tetanus booster shots, especially if you spend a lot of time
outdoors. Otherwise, a puncture wound will indicate a trip to the
doctor for a tetanus shot. Tetanus boosters used to be required every
single year. Nowadays, doctors recommend anywhere from every 7 to 17
Some folks question whether tetanus boosters (and other vaccinations)
are needed so frequently. To find out what the medical profession will
be recommending for humans in 10 years, ask your veterinarians what
they're recommending nowadays for vaccinating your animals...
Woman" by Elizabeth Berrien. Recycled wire sculpture, blue ribbon award
Creative Uses for Recycled Wire
some copper wire in a spiral around a marble or glass ball... and
you've got an indoor/outdoor ornament! Link a few wire & marble
ornaments, balance them with stiff horizontal wires... and you've got a
mobile! Wrap some chicken wire or field fencing around a shaggy,
unkempt shrub, smoosh it into an interesting shape... trim away the
parts you don't want.. and you've got a topiary!
It's all a matter of looking at the world around you with new eyes...
Now go out there and start recycling wire!
Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931
· email firstname.lastname@example.org
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