Artists reduce and reuse to create art
Trash is definitely a treasure for Corbett artist Tim Foertsch.
"Using something that was cast aside or is no longer, allows me to focus on seeing things outside of traditional context," Foertsch said. "Someone throws out a metal filing cabinet and I see a three dimensional rose."
Foertsch is one of many artists who have taken advantage of recycled materials to create artwork that will be featured at the 18th annual Cracked Pots Art Show in Troutdale.
More than 80 artists are expected to display their work at McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2.
The show attracts between 5,000-7,000 people to the East Multnomah County venue, said Chelsea Peil, Cracked Pots event manager, who added that the show is intended to introduce a larger crowd to the unique take on art by local artists.
"One of the reasons why we are doing this outreach to East Multnomah County is to try to inspire that community to engage more in art and culture," said Peil, adding that Cracked Pots is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing waste in society. "It's important to have the ecological angle to it and support local artists that are hand making items themselves."
While the artists featured at the Cracked Pots Art Show use different mediums — glass, ceramic, textiles — about 90 percent of the material Foertsch employs is metal. Occasionally, he incorporates mixed media like plastic, glass and wood.
Some of Foertsch's better known pieces are metal bells crafted from carbon dioxide tanks once found in soda dispensaries. His favorite part about the tanks are the old date stamps on them. He even has one from 1911.
"It is fun to realize some of the tanks I use were used by the military," Foertsch said. "I would prefer to work on something that had a former life or story behind it. It has history and was important to someone once. Now it will be again, but in an entirely new form."
Foertsch admits to dabbling in art a few times a year for fun until someone introduced him to Cracked Pots in 2009.
"Their whole purpose is about education and creative recycling," Foertsch said. "It was already something I was doing for fun (and then) I realized there was interest from the public in it."
Once Foertsch got involved with Cracked Pots, he launched a business to market his wares called Haoleware. The moniker is a nod to the Hawaiian word "Haole," which refers to those of non-Hawaiian descent, and brings to mind the laid-back atmosphere he found while visiting the islands.
"Everyone was polite and things moved at a slower pace. They call it 'island time,'" Foertsch said. "Everything for me is always busy (and) on the go so I guess it's the opposite of my reality. Once I had decided on Haoleware, I thought it would be fun to carry the theme throughout my website. Now, about once a year, a random customer will be from Hawaii and (will) laugh with me about the name."
Foertsch's art has been featured in several Northwest galleries, museums world-wide and local events. He also had the opportunity to jazz up several bike racks in Gresham and Troutdale with "fun whimsical things," he said.
Something Foertsch is looking forward to at Cracked Pots is having his daughters Chassidy, 12, and Trinity, 14, help with sales. He also thanks his wife for being so supportive of his art projects.
Some of the work Foertsch plans to sell at the art show is fish sculptures made out of heated wrenches that were twisted to represent a fish shape. Another example of art he will bring are birds made out of items like shovels or pitchforks and motorcycle exhaust parts.
"Nothing really goes to waste around my place," said Foertsch with a laugh. "I'm looking forward to being out at McMenamins because it's a wonderful venue. You meet great people (and) I find it relaxing. It's satisfying when you go to sell something and you see someone connect or relate to it. It's time well spent when it resinates with other people."
Have you turned trash to treasure?
The public is invited to submit their own artwork for an Artists Challenge on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Individuals can submit up to two pieces of art for a chance to win a cash award. Art needs to be delivered to McMenamins Edgefield by 10 a.m. and must be made of at least 80 percent recycled materials and follow the theme — vessel — which can be interpreted widely.
For more information and how to enter the artists challenge, visit www.crackedpots.org/edgefield-art-show/.