Steamboat artists get resourceful for annual recycled art project
October 13, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Who hasn't wanted to throw their computer out the window at one time or another?
Johnny Walker, a former middle school shop teacher, along with Lowen Epstein — whose father, David Epstein, runs the landfill that houses the Home ReSource salvage yard — spent the summer working on a contraption that could make that dream a reality.
And they did it all with recycled materials found at the Milner salvage yard.
Used lumber, old barbell weights and rope: Put together properly, these items can be made into a 6-foot-tall modern version of a trebuchet, which is a catapult-like weapon used in the Middle Ages.
"It throws things a long, long way," said Walker.
But why computer monitors?
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"It's to help some of us deal with our frustration," he said. "I have a 6-year-old laptop, and it gives me hell. If I could fling it, I probably would."
Since he still has to check his email, Walker said he and the Epsteins plan to have a "launch day" in the near future during which they'll fling several discarded computer monitors from Home ReSource about 100 feet into the air and 100 feet out.
Walker and the younger Epstein weren't the only ones who found a treasure trove of possibilities in what most consider to be junk.
This year, Home ReSource's Creative Community Art project invited artists, or anyone with an "outside the box" mentality, to use recycled materials to create a unique new identity for castaway items.
In addition to the trebuchet, which soon will make its home at Home ReSource, one of the salvage yard's employees, Javier Loya, built an impressive functional windmill out of snowboards.
Tricia Nickerson decorated furniture she found at the yard with recycled materials, and another woman created jewelry out of copper wire and found glass.
A reception scheduled for Saturday was skipped because of the rain, but the new projects created for this year's event will be on display at Home ReSource as the new permanent residents of the salvage yard.
"We kind of feel like even if we get one addition to our sculpture yard each year, we're doing a good thing," David Epstein said. "It's definitely taken off. It's supposed to kind of entice people to be creative with materials and to use them for something other than what they were designed to be used for."
Walker, who creates sculptures mostly from found objects, said the trebuchet is only one example of the art and science that can emerge from the salvage yard.
"Home Resource is a goldmine of found objects," he said. "I'm constantly collecting things."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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