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Making Sculptures from free materials.

I love reusing things rather than throwing them away .I'm always on the look out for free materials to make in to something else. I also have a fascination with fish and other sea creatures inspired by my love of rock pooling as a child. Looking at my recycling one day I thought that the ring pull lids off cans would make good scales for fish and the corrugated cans themselves would make fins and tails. After quite a lot of trial an error I invested in some tools to make my life easier. A metal hole punch, I'd previously made holes with a hammer and nail. A pop riveter, new tinsnips , some flat and long nosed pliers, some rivets, gardening gloves and lots of clean tins and lids. I also discovered the work of Alanna Baird, of the Tin Fish studio, a Canadian artist and sculptor. I find her work very inspiring, she's well worth checking out.

So armed with all the necessary equipment, a roughly to scale drawing of the fish or sea creature I want to create and wearing the gloves to protect myself from the sharp metal edges I begin by cutting both ends off the tins and flattening them. Using the tinsnips I cut the shapes for the tail. On the fish below, the tail consists of four pieces which are shaped by folding the cut edges over then two pieces are sandwiched together and riveted, this makes it more rigid. then working from the tail I add the scales[tin lids]. By folding the tin lids I can make scales with a straight edge which then butt up to the fins which are made in the same way as the tail.

I keep working around the fish making sure both sides mirror each other. As you can see in the picture below the fishes body expands from the tail, gets fatter then narrows again towards the head.

The head is the trickiest bit because you need to plan where to punch the holes as you can't get the hole punch into the narrower spaces once they've been attached. Some rivets will be holding multiple pieces together.

I use bottle tops for eyes. once I've finished the building process I spray the fish, usually silver. I then hand paint with acrylics and metallic powders. This Sea Bass has sold and is hanging in a kitchen in Fylingthorpe.

The photo above is of a sculpture I made of a male Stickleback and is available for £150.

The Lobster above was made using the same techniques but the four smaller legs are made from a recycled copper water tank. I like the patination on the copper and it inspired me to copper leaf the rest of the lobster. This sculpture is available on the website for £140 and is my latest creation. The Lobster below has sold and is living in Cyprus.

Each piece I make is unique. If you are interested in commissioning a sculpture of a tin fish or tin lobster then have a look in my Tin Sea Creatures Gallery on and contact me on 07749017351

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