Did you know?

*The students of Chitrakala Parishat (CKP), in Bangalore, have made scrap metal sculptures and installed them on the compound wall of their college. The sculptures include those of robots, dragonflies, birds, octopus, fish, guitars, and human faces among others.

* The best known scrap metal sculptor in India is Arzan R Khambhatta of Mumbai. He calls his sculpture, ‘scrapture’. He sculpts from metal sheets, rods, pipes and various sections that are twisted, beaten and textured to give his art the desired texture and effect.

* The world’s largest scrap metal sculpture is the massive Foreverton Machine found in Tom Every’s (also known as Dr Evermore) Scrap Metal Park in Sauk City, a village in Sauk County, Winconsin, USA. Dr Evermore has painstakingly created an art environment that demonstrates the potential of scrap metal as a medium for sculpture. His Scrap Metal Park is populated by countless fantastical creatures, each one made of recycled, re-purposed metal bits. The centrepiece of the park, of course, is the massive Foreverton Machine, consisting of 320 tons of scrap metal. It is six storeys high.

* Scrap metal sculptures are also popular elsewhere in the world. Sculptors in Zimbabwe raid the recycling bin to create metal birds.

* Ara Alekyan, from Armenia, is considered a maestro of junkyard art.

* Painters in Mexico have long substituted slabs of tin for canvas when creating their votive paintings that are dedications to saints.

* A group of polio victims in Tanzania crafts scrap into boats, birds and animals.

Process and product

The process of making a scrap sculpture begins when you start thinking about your art concept.

* Determine the type of metal sculpture you want to create, such as abstract or real-life.

* Determine what type of metal pieces are needed to create the design — big, little, thick, flat or round.

* Locate the pieces from a hardware store, scrap yard, flea market or around the house.

Visiting the local scrap yard will provide you with a wide choice of discarded metal scrap. You can find unique and cheap pieces at these yards, and a visit to one even might give you inspiration for a design. Scrap-yard metals require more work since they will have to be cleaned to remove loose rust and grime. Always work under adult supervision.

* Determine how to assemble metal pieces by experimenting with different arrangements. Do not be afraid to change the design if a better compositional arrangement is found. Secure pieces with clamps.

* The welding process now begins. While the idea can be yours, a professional welder’s help must be used. Never try this on your own. Slowly, the scrap sculpture gets its shape. The body, arms and legs are recognisable.

* Let the sculpture cool. Get an adult to help you remove the clamps.

* Smoothen out any rough edges by sanding or grinding, again under adult/ professional supervision.

* After the scrap metal has been welded into a masterpiece of art, the sculpture is cleaned, polished and a protective clear coat is added. This must be done by a professional.

Over time you can even learn the art of welding, in which case you will need leather gloves, brazing torch, brazing rod, butane fuel, flux, goggle, heat-resistant gloves, sealer/finisher for metal.

You can always begin with simple sculptures and then progress to intricate, professional work.

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