My friend Michelle has been an artist her entire life, but she hasn’t always stuck with the same medium.
- While she prefers handcrafted visual art these days, she was a budding young musician and poet in college.
She just happened to be brilliant at ceramics after sculpting with clay in her early childhood with her parents and siblings. I encouraged her to take a sculpting class in college because I assumed it would involve clay, but the instructor tried to approach every other possible medium through which one could make sculptures beyond the traditional ceramic clay that most people are already exposed to. First it was cardboard, which Michelle took to immediately to my utter bewilderment and surprise. She loved the idea of repurposing old cardboard that would otherwise end up in the landfill after foraging behind industrial buildings on the other end of town. However, it was metal sculpting that inspired Michelle more than anything else. The instructor had coils of highly flexible, galvanized steel rebar tie wire and wire ties to use for making things as trivial as coffee tables and as wild as abstract sculptures. One of our friends used the rebar bent into geometrical shapes that he would weld together, making these massive multi-sided forms that resembled dodecahedrons. Michelle used the skills to open a furniture crafting business using primarily rebar tie wire of various kinds and sizes, between 14 gauge and 18 gauge. Most of her furniture is made with stainless steel rebar tie wire because of its long term stability. She also uses galvanized steel rebar tie wire in addition to the stainless steel rebar tie wire.