The Found Series by Michael Aaron: making art from discarded materials

Michael Aaron Williams, a young American artist from Knoxville, Tennessee, has created art from discarded materials.

Found series 1 by Michael Aaron - on old railroad ties.

Found series 1 by Michael Aaron – on old railroad ties.

He uses the materials he has found as a canvas to create intense and almost disturbing portraits. The organic and decomposing state of the pieces adds to the raw visual effect while also showing the beautiful transformation the artist has achieved.

Found series 2 by Michael Aaron - on old rusty sheet metal

Found series 2 by Michael Aaron – on old rusty sheet metal

Michael Aaron seeks to save materials from their fate and repurpose them, making them into something that is valued and appreciated.

 “These pieces are done on things that have been found on the side of the road, railroad tracks and in old barns. Basically it is about using something that would have deteriorated over time if left where it was and taking them into the studio and making something beautiful out of them.”

Found series 3 by Michael Aaron - sheet metal

Found series 3 by Michael Aaron – sheet metal

He does not only experiment with different materials, but also different techniques in composing his work. The piece below has been created using a process of burning the wood rather than painting it.

Found series 4 by Michael Aaron - burnt onto old barn wood

Found series 4 by Michael Aaron – burnt onto old barn wood

Each portrait is simple yet captivating and very real, showing the artists ability to capture human emotion.

Found series 5 by Michael Aaron - this one is on an old wrecked up carhood

Found series 5 by Michael Aaron – this one is on an old wrecked up carhood

Recycled Bicycle Sculpture by Jake Beckman

Bicycle Sculpture by Jake Beckman at the entrance to Morgana Run Bike Trail Cleveland, more information at  the American Trails website.

Bike Sculpture Trail head

Photo courtesy of American Trails

Smooth, Reused and Recycled: Marc Sparfel’s Delicate Animal Sculptures

Warrior 1

At first glance Marc Sparfel’s elegant sculptures may not initially look like they fit our recycled theme, however these beautifully crafted animals have been shaped by discarded materials.

Victory of Samothrace

French born Sparfel spent his childhood in the countryside in Brittany, surrounded by nature and animals. He was particularly fascinated by horses and cows, a theme that is evident in his work.

Petite Antilope

After moving to Barcelona in 1999 he was immediately intrigued by the amount of furniture abandoned in the street and decided to do something with it.

Petit Lion

Gradually he began to incorporate these materials in his sculptures, first in a long series of masks, inspired by tribal African artwork, and later he also used these in animals of all types and sizes applying his own unique style.

Homme Femme

He describes how he began accumulating more and more discarded objects “Initially, I found the furnishings by chance during my walks, but later realized that in every neighborhood there is a set day to leave large items in the street. So I started walking around the old town according to the “furniture days” of each neighborhood to recover the material bit by bit. Over time, the neighbors began to leave me chairs in front of my workshop …”

Grand Cheval

He uses the deconstruction of the found furniture to trigger an idea and to gain inspiration “The first step is the design of the piece, the second is its construction. I draw my inspiration directly from the forms I find when dismantling the furniture.”


Admittedly this process does not always have the desired outcome and being a perfectionist he is sometimes unable to finish a piece “Sometimes I have the beginning of an idea, and can envision the head, horns, and legs, but some piece that should complete the sculpture is missing, which makes the design process longer. I have used some pieces of furniture many years after recovering them in the street.”

Elephant Mask

However when he does finish a sculpture, the result is an exquisite work of art.

Elephant couple

These delicate, smooth and complex sculptures prove that reused materials can take on many forms, whether it is obvious or not.


Sparfel currently resides in Spain and his work is exhibited in galleries in Spain, France and Germany, and will soon be shown in the United States.

Anubis couple

Irish Folk Furniture – Short Film

This is a lovely little animated video about Irish folk furniture. The film made it’s debut at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January. It features people talking about their traditional furniture and each piece making a journey through restoration. It’s beautifully shot and demonstrates how sentimental people can be towards objects.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Zeppelin Toilet Seat, San Francisco

Zeppelin Seat with a view

These are the pictures from the Zeppelin flight over San Francisco. The Eureka is an authentic Zeppelin, she is 246-feet long and stretches 15-feet longer than a standard Boeing 747. Currently, there are only two such aircraft flying in the world, this one in the bay area of San Francisco and one in Friedrichshafen.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Hand Painted Chair, Grass Valley California

Hand painted chair outside a straw bale house in Grass Valley, Northern California.