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Local artists put creative spin on recycling

Crackedpots: Twelve years of creativity and sustainability
by: Lauren Gold Tim Foertsch of Corbett uses recycled metal like propane tanks and copper piping to create solar lights, metal panel, metal flowers and more. His work will be for sale at this year's Crackedpots art show on July 19-20 at McMenamins Edgefield.

Featuring 90 artists and a wide variety of both indoor and outdoor art made from recycled materials, the annual Crackedpots art show will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 19-20, at McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale.

This is the 12th year that the show has been at Edgefield, although it is the first year that both indoor and outdoor art will be included in the same show. The event is perfect, Program Administrator Elaine Loving said, for those interested in unique artwork.

'It's a fun event to come and walk around,' Loving said. 'It's a great group of artists.'

Loving estimates that 3,000 to 5,000 people come through the event every year.

The show is not just an opportunity to buy recycled art, but also holds an artist challenge each year with two categories, one for professional artists and one for nonprofessionals.

Each year, the Crackedpots committee chooses a theme or specific materials that artists must focus their piece around. This year, the designated materials are wooden pallets and old pots and pans, of which 80 percent of the piece must be made.

'We always think about what's out there in the waste stream that really needs a lot of attention,' Loving said.

People who go to the show vote for the winning piece. Crackedpots also chooses a winning submission, and displays it somewhere in the community.

All aspects of the show, Loving said, are geared toward the goal of sustainability.

'Our whole message, our motto is creative waste reduction and our mission is get people to creatively look at trash and just rethink,' Loving said. 'We just want to see people doing reused art.'

For a peek at what's to come at Crackedpots, here are a few local artists who will show their work this year.

Parris Foley

An old, discarded piece of glass at a yard sale might be junk to some, but to Fairview artist Parris Foley, it could be a beautiful woman's face.

'I just love features. I've always been attracted to eyes and facial structure. It's always been a fascination of mine,' Foley said. 'I think faces tell stories.'

Foley also works at Gresham Cosmetic Laser Center, which she said is probably one of the inspirations for her art.

Foley creates mosaics from recycled glass, using everything from beads to mill ends to vases to mirrors.

'Every piece is completely unique,' Foley said. 'They're all one of a kind because I'll never find that glass again.'

Foley said the used glass also makes for a deeper story behind her art.

'I think it makes it more interesting that maybe it actually had a life at some point,' Foley said.

She first began selling her art when she applied to be part of the Crackedpots show four years ago and was accepted.

'It was kind of a dream of mine,' she said. 'I finally said, 'I'm old enough to do what I want to do.' '

The Crackedpots show, Foley said, is among her favorites because it allows the artists and buyers to connect on a deeper level than just a business transaction.

'It's really neat that people can have that one on one contact with the person who creates it,' she said. 'It just makes it that much more special.'

Foley has also participated in other shows in the area, including the Fall Foliage Studio Tour, which she helped organize last year, the Gresham Art Walk and some pieces at the Lorang Art Gallery in Cascade Locks.

Tim Foertsch

When Corbett artist Tim Foertsch shows you his hands, you'd never guess he works at the corporate office for Integra Telecom. The dirt under his nails and blisters on his fingers tell of the artistic side of his life.

For 10 years now, Foertsch has sought out pieces of discarded metal to create works of art, welding the pieces together or using a plasma cutter. He makes solar lights, mixed media, gates, roses, motorcycle totem poles and tiki lights.

'I like to play with light,' Foertsch said. 'I try to do something that is both pretty in the day and at night.'

Foertsch said he started working with metal when he was 14, and his dad bought a car for them to work on together. He also said that his whole family is artistic, which gave him a lot of inspiration.

Using recycled materials also makes his art more sustainable.

'It's fun because you don't hurt anything, and you don't waste anything,' Foertsch said.

And it gives him inspiration.

'There are no real constraints,' Foertsch said. 'You can kind of do whatever you want.'

Foertsch said that he hates to see anything get thrown away, which is why he tries to save things and use them for his art.

'There's too much character to all this stuff,' Foertsch said.

Foertsch has been doing the Crackedpots show for four years now, and he says he feels in good company during the event.

'The talent that's there is unreal, it's really inspiring,' he said.

Though he is modest about his own work, Foertsch has done well at the show, placing in the top two by audience votes both times he has participated in the annual challenge. Last year he sold out the first day and went home and worked all night on more pieces only to sell out again the next day.

'I feel super honored that I must be doing something right,' Foertsch said.

Foertsch has participated in a number of other local shows, including the Vancouver Recycled Arts Fair this year, where he sold half of his inventory. To learn more about Foertsch and his art, visit www.haoleware.com .

Diane Erickson

Colorfully tiled chairs, coolers, bicycles and tables make up Gresham artist Diane Erickson's repertoire. Erickson uses mostly old plates to create mosaic art on anything she can paint with glue.

'I've always liked to work with my hands and make things,' Erickson said.

She finds her inspiration in books, calendars or other pictures, which show how different colors and pieces can go together, she said.

She gathers her materials anywhere she can find them, like yard sales or the Salvation Army. Her favorite materials to work with are plates, she says, because of the bright colors.

'When I go to yard sales, I see things differently than other people,' Erickson said.

Jean Hybskmann

'Whimsical' cats and colorful designs decorate Troutdale artist Jean Hybskmann's backyard. She does paintings on pieces of discarded wood, and her pieces can be used as garden art, fence pieces or even as just a painting to hang indoors. In her recent pieces, she has also experimented with 3D features like Mexican coins and pop-out wooden birdhouses.

Hybskmann also makes other outdoor art pieces, like the 'garden people' she creates from old table or bed legs, which she affectionately calls 'Jean's Peeps.'

'I like to try new things,' she said. 'I like to do things I think people will look at and smile.'

Her artwork is full of bright colors and her most common subjects are cats.

'There's something whimsical about cats, and I think that's kind of my style,' Hybskmann said.

Hybskmann's inspiration comes from her surroundings, especially from traveling with her husband, Jerry, in their camper.

'We like the southwest and Mexico,' she said. 'That, to me, says color.'