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.