For Wayne and Kathy Enslow the bits and pieces have been coming together over the last four years, as they’ve mastered the techniques and mindset of metal art sculpture in the eclectic clutter of their Cowichan Valley studio.
Their passion for welding together nuts, bolts, bushings, spoons, forks – just about any pieces of metal you might find in a thrift store or even a fabrication shop’s dumpster – has sort of emerged accidentally. Like the fabulous creations they craft, they didn’t map things out, they just got inspired by what lay to hand.
Back then Wayne was pursuing his lifelong passion as a painter – which he vows, somewhat wistfully, to get back to – and Kathy was working in soldered copper and brass. Said Wayne: “Someone showed her a picture of a little bird they’d made from spoons, and she showed a lot of interest in that, and wanted to know if I could dig out our old welder…” “…and teach me how to weld,” Kathy completed the sentence.
Their fate was sealed. “The long-story-short is, I’m in the front of the shop, and I’m painting, and every twenty minutes she’s saying, ‘Wayne, can you show me how to do this?’ or ‘What should I do here?’ and so anyway I got a little more involved in it,” Wayne explained in his understated way.
So now the couple are creating almost anything imaginable out of the ‘junk’ they scavenge wherever they can. Birds are among their most favoured subjects, and like the crows, hummingbirds and sparrows they fashion out of spoons, nails and wires, inspiration flits into their minds on the fly, as they scan the materials they ‘throw’ onto their workbench.
“I would have to say it comes from our collection of old parts and the bits and pieces we’ve put together over the last few years,” Wayne explained. “A lot of people have asked us, ‘Do you have plans? Do you draw it out or do you have a blueprint or something like that?’ No. It’s all from scratch.”
You can see the Enslow’s work at their wenslow.ca website, or on their Enslow Arts & Design Facebook page and wenslow322 Instagram site. You can also take in a virtual gallery exhibit of their works at RainforestArts.ca. If you’d like to meet them in person, you will often find them at the Duncan Farmer’s Market (duncanfarmersmarket.ca) or the Cedar Farmers Market (cedarfarmersmarket.org).