I decided to ask the residents if I could salvage this material-building debris, metal and furniture. I began to repurpose and use it to make art. Although I’m not formally trained as an artist, I worked under master carpenters and absorbed their craft. There is something about knowing these items have been cherished that inspires me. I feel an intimate connection working with materials knowing they have passed through the hands of others. They have sentimental value, because they have been part of homes and the families that lived, loved and died there.
In my current series of work-my starburst formations are made from wood that was used as floors to walk on, walls and roofs that have provided shelter. Tables and chairs where families have gathered, had their meals and spoke about their days. My starbursts tell the stories of people & times. I often contemplate-if only these materials could talk. I don’t change the colors of the wood I work with- they have an aged texture, a patina that only time can create. I appreciate the weathered torn surface and try to maintain its original form and appearance.
Another reason I choose to work with these materials is that I feel it’s our social responsibility to repurpose and recycle. - saving them from taking up space in our landfills in an effort to preserve our environment.
Roddy Wildeman was born in Long Branch NJ and resides in Ocean Grove. He currently owns and manages torche’ Galerie in Belmar. His studio is also housed in the gallery. Over the past 15 years I worked as a carpenter and a real estate agent, helping people find new homes & renovating old homes. During the renovation process I watched as building debris and other materials piled up to be discarded. I began to feel mixed emotions as I thought about the history associated with these items.