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By Toni Tronu
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This month I am featuring artist Lisa Gist Walker of Evening Farm Art. Her lovely creations are formed with rustic reclaimed materials- She takes items that are in endless supply and upcycles them to create quality pieces of art. Here is  insight into who Lisa is, why she creates, and some of her favorite places to salvage.

Why She Makes
Some folks enjoy television. Or marathoning. Or fishing, shopping, or golf. I enjoy making stuff. When I see a scrap of lumber in the Mister's shop, or find a rusty bit of metal in the woods, or dump another pile of soda cans in the recycling bin, the wheels start turning and I need to make something. Like when there's a new slab of dark chocolate on the counter, something must be done with it, right? It's a compulsion. A hobby-gone-mad. And it makes me deeply content and happy.What inspires

For-absolutely-ever, I was inspired by materials. As a kid, walnut shells needed to have tiny little scenes markered inside them, a scrap of wall-board and mom's fabric scraps needed to become a bulletin board, wooden spoons from the kitchen only needed paint-and-button faces and clothes made from more of mom's fabric scraps (there was some sadness, I recall, about this misuse of wooden spoons). That's how my Hearts series began, a glimpse of cedar and pine slag at our local mill and soon I was cutting hearts day and night. Found materials still make me crazy-giddy but recently, I've caught myself thinking things like "hmm, that stand of trees would be fun to stitch and collage!" Or "wow, how could I recreate that sunset?" These days, it's a big committee of materials, experiences and the natural world that inspire.

Where She lives
My home and heart are in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. Folks here are smart creative, and unusually cute. The local natural world stretches across fields and woods and streams still inhabited by furry-feathery-fishy critters of all kinds. We're a few hours' drive to the coast, the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge. We have four distinct seasons. Can you tell? I love this little corner of the world and am grateful that I get to call it home. 

Who She Lives with
We've got a full house. I live with a Mister, teenagers, dogs, cats, and honeybees. They make me laugh. And worry, and okay, honestly, sometimes they make me cry but mostly, it's a fine, somewhat-messy, paw-printed, dinner's-late, how-does-the-washing-machine-work-again kind of sweet life.

Why Salvaged Materials?

On rare occasion I do have to venture to a retail store for shiny new supplies. It's painful and I worry about every chemical and unfair labor practice and gallon of fossil fuel that united to bring me that spool of thread in the perfect shade of cerulean. But increasingly, even threads and hardware come to me after a first life somewhere else.

Top Ten Reasons She Loves Salvaged Materials

A one-of-a kind beauty is inherent in them.

They are in endless supply.

I limit my demands on the natural world by not contributing to the demand for new supplies.

Inspiration strikes whenever they're around.

Sometimes, they tell stories.

I get to keep stuff out of the landfill.

Upcycling is even better than recycling which is way better than trashing.

I get to support local second-life business likes thrift shops and reuse centers.

The quality often exceeds what is available new.

I get to experiment with new ideas, techniques and materials with little investment.


Her Favorite Sources for Salvage

Found along the roadside, trail, or stream is the best but others sources include: 

The Scrap Exchange Durham
Amazing fabric scraps and remnants, notions, hardware, cutter quilts and other domestics, and always, more surprises than items on  my list.

PTA Thrift Shops, Carrboro-Chapel Hill

PTA Thrift Shops, Chatham County

Habitat ReStores, Orange-Durham
and Chatham

Raleigh Reclaimed

Salvage Sheds via Orange County Waste Management