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Piecing it together

by: VERN UYETAKE - Zach Gilburne demonstrates how butterfly valves open and close to create the coyotes eyes.

Rosemont Ridge students upcycle found pipes, scraps into art


A pair of local middle school students has found a new use for some of the city's oldest, rustiest water pipes: art.

Zach Gilburne, a seventh-grader at Three Rivers Charter School next year who attended Rosemont Ridge Middle School for sixth grade, said the idea for the sculpture came from his teacher, Lisia Farley. The class had been studying local water issues and Farley had offered students a break in homework if they could create an art piece incorporating old water pipes in a positive way. Gilburne and his classmate, Steven Burch, decided to take her up on this offer.by: VERN UYETAKE - Gilburne used rusted water pipes pulled up by the city of West Linnâs Public Works Department to create the legs of his coyote sculpture.

The pair decided to create a coyote - Rosemont Ridge's mascot - and Gilburne, who was the recent winner of West Linn's "If I Were Mayor..." contest, got on the phone with the city of West Linn to enlist its help.

Through Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt, Gilburne and Burch connected with West Linn resident Dave Froode, who works with the city coordinating the annual Arts Festival in the Forest and creates his own garden art by "upcycling" found objects.by: VERN UYETAKE - A small carburetor and engine acts as the coyoteâs head, a piston makes its nose and a mailbox flag forms its tongue.

With access to three of the West Linn Public Works Department's scrap metal drop boxes, Gilburne and Burch created a basic plan for their sculpture and headed out with Gilburne's father, Andrew, and Froode to collect the pieces they would use.

Gilburne said he was surprised with what he found in the drop boxes.

Froode said he let Gilburne and Burch choose what to use, offering suggestions along the way.by: VERN UYETAKE - Carl Edwards, left, Zach Gilburne and Dave Froode collaborated to create the sculpture, pulling materials from city drop boxes and welding them together to create a coyote.

Now complete, the coyote has pipes for legs; a mailbox for a torso; a small carburetor and engine from a lawn mower for a head, with butterfly valves that flutter open and closed for eyes; a piston for a nose; and the mailbox's flag for a tongue.

The group brought the pieces to West Linn resident Carl Edwards to be welded together. And, although Burch wasn't available that day, Gilburne chose where each object should be placed.

Because they were so rusty, Edwards said welding the pipes was a bit of a challenge, as was making sure the coyote looked like it was howling at the moon. He said Gilburne was easy to work with though, as he was willing to change his design and follow the lead.

"(The sculpture is) pretty unique for a bunch of junk," Edwards said. by: VERN UYETAKE - Gilburne and his classmate Steven Burch decided to create the sculpture on the suggestion of their Rosemont Ridge Middle School teacher after learning about local water issues.

Gilburne and Burch's sculpture will be displayed at this year's Old Time Fair and the Arts Festival in the Forest, if they choose. Plans are also in the works to display it at city hall and at Rosemont Ridge.

Gilburne said he may keep it or he may sell it. He said he's interested in creating more sculptures in the future.

He'll have to get help from Edwards for a while longer, though, because "his parents won't buy him a blowtorch for his birthday."