This piece is a testament in rendering ubiquitous, overlooked materials into a beautiful design. These items, once used for their intended purpose are now regarded as nothing more than waste, and can be found in large quantities by looking in the right place. The two materials employed in this piece; the fire extinguisher and wooden dunnage, embody the ideals of repurposing as omnipresent, plentiful and under-utilized materials.
The fire extinguishers, extracted from a mountain of used cylindrical tanks at a local scrap yard are a product that claim space in ALL safely outfitted residential, commercial and industrial buildings. There is no 'second life' for these steel lifesavers, other than the scrap heap. Wooden dunnage is a material used to protect and secure products in the shipping and transportation industry. Once used, they are often sold or given away as firewood, even if the wood itself -predominantly pine, spruce and douglas-fir - is still in excellent condition. There is unlimited potential to reuse these materials into new designs and purposes.
The sculptures intends to catch the eye of the viewer so others will be inspired incorporate repurposing, much in the same way that recycling was popularized years ago. The concept for this sculpture carries both apparent and subconscious connotations. While there may be irony evident in creating a fire out of used extinguishers, this is a bonfire, elevated in space. Engrained in our national psyche, easily on par with Mounties or maple syrup, bonfires are common to Canadians more so than most nations due to our vast territory of natural resources and symbiotic relationship with the Great Outdoors. The fires bring us together to bond, share warmth and stories, reminding us that our time on Earth is finite.
The inverted hexagonal pyramid of the wooden dunnage serves a dual purpose: It offers the viewer an intimate view of the sculpture, eliminating the liminal space between any artwork and its onlooker, and places the steel bonfire on a pedestal. It celebrates its design as a material given new life, acknowledging the triple bottom line of repurposing: Environmental, Economic, and Social.
This sculpture serves as a beacon, sending out signals that we need to recognize opportunities from the past rather than predict availability in the future.