How Your Purchase is Impacting the World Around You
While recycling is a great option when it comes to keeping metal out of the landfill, it’s even better to see those everyday mundane objects become beautiful pieces of art. At Bear Hill Studio those old saw blades and discarded manufacturing metal offcuts all come together to become the art you end up taking home. Hand painted ornaments and wall pieces from rusted metal and steel, fence post toppers, as well as garden and cottage decorations are just some of the things our local artisans can transform using their imagination alone.
From a more global point of view, choosing to buy locally made Canadian metal art pieces also contributes to both supporting local economies and the fight against global warming. On top of that, metal art comes with a rich history behind it that adds a dimension to it that other simple décor pieces might not have. Below, we wanted to share a bit more about how each of these individual aspects come together to help create the impact your metal art purchase can have.
Can Metal Be Recycled?
Recycling is the first step when it comes to lowering the impact day-to-day life can have on the planet. We all know that trash, and what we do with it, has become a huge problem as the years go by and our population grows. The good news is that most metals can indeed be recycled. Anything from car parts, to demolition scraps and even ship pieces can all be reused again and again.
The process of recycling emits significantly less carbon dioxide, and harmful gases, into the environment than mining for new material would. On top of that, metal is a finite resource which means there aren’t always going to be new amounts of its raw version that we can make use of. Even with this information however, the recycling of basic metals (like steel and iron which are used during most construction) still only sits at around 32% of the overall metal currently in use. This means we’re missing out on lowering our carbon emissions even more by not making use of what’s already available.
History of Scrap Metal Art
While the word junk metal, used in the same sentence as “art” can sound a bit intense, there’s actually an interesting history when it comes to artists using scrap materials to bring their creativity to life. It’s a low cost option available basically everywhere, and depending on what you can find, it can be manipulated into anything what you want. Using metal to create art was a big part of the junk art trend when it first appeared, and it continues to be today.
Starting in the early 1900s junk art was mostly used in conjunction with other mediums, like sculpting and installation pieces. It was born as a way to fight against the idea at the time that the use of traditional materials like oils and acrylics were the only correct way to do art. It was a sub-section of the Modern Art movement and it included the use of a variety of scrap materials such as left over metal, broken machines, and waste paper – just to name a few. Anything that would otherwise be thrown out or recycled was fair game, and today its biggest identifying factors are the use of everyday objects clearly displayed in the piece.
How Metal Art Helps Local Economies
The lifecycle of a scrap of metal is actually one of the few that can be done completely within the same community. Because metal has more economic value than other types of junk (it’s easier to sort, melt, and reuse), scrap yards tend to set up shop nearby. It means that both you and other local manufacturers in the area, can all make some money back by selling leftover materials and even household items to said junk yards. Recycling also creates jobs and allows businesses to buy used pieces to use in their manufacturing, and lower their production costs which in turn lowers the final price the customer pays.
From there, people like artists who reuse the metal can source it locally which reinjects funds into the community around them. When they sell those art pieces they’re able to also keep injecting funds into the community by shopping local too. The café on the corner, the mom and pop store next door, and even the local math tutor their kids desperately need. In fact, if you have a small business yourself they can even end up knocking on your door and merging you into the local economy you just supported with your purchase.
By buying local you not only help support the artist’s creativity, knowledge and time directly, but you’re also a part of a continuous cycle that helps everyone else in it prosper too.