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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Central Otago sculptor Jim Ashe is getting his ability for recycling down to a fine art.

Ashe, who is a welder by trade, has been transforming second-hand rimu bed frames into sculptures, some of which have been on display at Central Otago Reap and Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra.

He sources the beds from recycling centres, pulls them apart and gets the boards laminated together at a joinery before sketching an idea of the shape he wants the project to take.

One of his latest works depicts a tree which can be used as a hat rack.

The rimu was used to create the main body of the tree and steel was added to create branches.

Ashe, who works in the wine and tourism industry, said the hat rack at 1.8m-tall was an expensive one at that, given the hours dedicated to it.

Although he does not keep a tally of the hours, Ashe knows there are many spent crafting the shape, sanding and welding.

“I just do it in my days off,” he said.

Sometimes that can mean just a couple of hours at a time, or if the mood allows he will dedicate an afternoon to it, working outside in front of his house overlooking some of the district’s cherry crops.

Crafting art from wood is a reasonably new concept for Ashe, who started using the material just a few months ago.

However, art has always been on Ashe’s radar, particularly painting and creating furniture.

“I used to work in mum’s garage making wrought iron furniture and art and garden stuff in the 90s.”

His mum reaped the rewards the day he built her a glasshouse.

Inspiration for his latest artistic medium comes from “all over the place” and often starts with “doodling” to come up with a shape.

“Sometimes the brain just takes things in subliminally,” he said.

He plans to keep working with recycled rimu beds until he runs out.

“I’ll do this for a while – who knows after that. I might change; who knows what I’m going to do next?”