A featured artist in this year’s Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show is taking recycling to another level. Aaron Shufelt uses methane gas captured from an old North Carolina landfill as the fuel to heat delicate works of art in his glassblowing studio.
Shufelt, one of nearly 70 professional artists who recycle or reuse materials to create their work, will participate in celebration of America Recycles Day as the Déjà Vu show marks its ninth year as one of Columbus’ premier events. Artists from Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky will show assemblages, fiber arts, glass art, jewelry, sculpture, wearable art, weaving, and woodworking Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Commons, Columbus. The event is free and open to the public.
Organizers hope Shufelt’s participation will encourage local officials to consider new uses for the old Bartholomew County landfill. Methane gas, which is a byproduct of decomposing materials buried in landfills, is a valuable resource. To capture the gas and convert it for useful, creative purposes, workers at the Jackson County Energy Park, Dillsboro, N.C., built greenhouses and craft studios atop a capped landfill. Employees recover the landfill gas and heat their greenhouses with it. Besides Shufelt, additional resident artists use the methane to forge metal, fire pottery and create glass.
Shufelt was invited to participate in the Columbus show because Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District administrators are thinking about building a facility similar to the Jackson County Energy Park. When a landfill is capped, the resulting methane is released into the air or burned off, wasting potential energy, so capturing the landfill gas in Bartholomew County would be better for the environment. Also, recycling it will provide income for the county, and an arts incubator or craft studio may encourage tourism.
If constructed, the arts incubator would be built at the capped landfill located near Petersville, east of Columbus. Supporters of the facility hope that Shufelt’s participation will give the public and county officials the opportunity to see his work and to learn about the Jackson County Energy Park.
Dozens of other professionals artists will participating in the show. One of the more unusual entries is that of Kentucky artist Fred Asplen. Working with an acetylene torch, he creates designs on spent oxygen tanks and fire extinguishers before turning them into giant bells.
Also appearing for the first time is Jill Jones, Topeka, Ind. The artist and antiques dealer creates assemblages, jewelry, accessories and decorative items in the steampunk and neo-Victorian styles. In keeping with the theme of repurposing, she uses only broken antique objects.
Last year, a new category was added to recognize artists who use sustainable, natural materials to create their work. For example, Bloomington’s Julie Gootee will show jewelry created from found butterflies. Utilizing stained glass techniques, she encases each wing in glass, and then joins them with silver solder. Clearly in a class by herself is Fishers artist and art teacher Nicole Lewis, who melts scrap crayons and pours them into molds to make new ones in shapes such as dinosaurs, robots and alphabet letters.
Unionville weaver Lynne Mikolon makes beautiful rugs using waste materials from upholstery fabrics and Pendleton wool blanket off cuts. Also, she fashions hats and bracelets from the blanket scraps. Returning for his second show is Wabash painter Michael Hapner. One of the most popular artists who exhibited last year, Hapner applies painted dots to repurpose a variety of items including saddles, bicycles, records, violins, guitars, pianos, mannequins and boots.
In addition to the art show, employees from kidscommons Children’s Museum will present free children’s activities with an earth-friendly theme in celebration of America Recycles Day.
More information about the show and children’s activities is available by calling the Columbus Area Arts Council at 812-376-2539. A complete list of participating artists may be found at the show’s Web site, www.kid-at-art.com/htdoc/dejavu2013.html.