Barry Lewis will be opening the 2011 Westbury on Trym Flower Show

 
 

As a young lad, Welsh eco-sculptor Barry Lewis was influenced by his grandfather's great love of nature and the old man's workshop was a veritable Aladdin's cave for the boy who simply loved making contraptions from screws, nails, bits of wire and all manner of other things.

 

'I was always very interested in nature and animals and my grandfather was keen on showing me things of interest in the natural world. We would spot a bird's nest and he would say: "Don't touch it but just look at the eggs in there and we can watch them hatch out, grow into fledglings and fly away."

My mother was an artist and my dad was an engineer so naturally enough, I started off in light engineering, making parts for cars and computers but I would come home covered in oil and full of steel and brass splinters and with my ears ringing from the machinery which wasn't very nice.

I then started creating, what is popularly called junk art, in the workshop and garden of my home in the Rhondda Valley and over the last twelve years I've taken part in a great many exhibitions in England, Wales, including Glastonbury and other music festivals, and have also exhibited in France.

"Someone may have chucked a bike into a river polluting it, for example, and then I will come along, pull it out and turn part of it into a giant metal fish.

The Idea of upcycling is central to my work and the resulting mixture of materials, their age, and the previous use of the objects incorporated in the sculptures, adds another dimension.

So I like to make things from the familiar, things that people might have around their house or garage and maybe they have to look twice to realise exactly what they are.

I also enjoy combining the very old and the very new. For example, an 18th Century door hinge may be joined between 21st Century stainless steel cutlery. It's all about transformation and reclamation, where the ordinary and utilitarian become unexpectedly and surprisingly brought to life.'

NEWSFLASH

Barry wants to build a sculpture as a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of pit ponies that worked in the mines.  There were 100,000 pit ponies working the the mines at any one time.  So far he only has the head.  We want the people of Bristol to rally together to help Barry complete his sculpture.  On Saturday 10th September we want residents to bring along their old unwanted metal garden implements - such as shovels, spades, pick axes, broken petrol mowers, hand mowers, metal machinery etc.  so that they can be upcycled to form the pit pony body.  

Updated by the webmaster 1st September 2011