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28 October 2014

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You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > Blast > What a load of rubbish!

Shiam Wilcox

Shiam Wilcox

What a load of rubbish!

Local artist Shiam Wilcox introduces her junk animal sculptures to our Blast reporter Jaskharan...

Ever wondered what to do with all those empty drinks bottles and crisp packets? Why not make them into a sculpture of an animal? That may sound slightly strange, but for local junk sculpture extraordinaire Shiam Wilcox, it’s a regular thing.

To make her sculptures she uses what most people would consider to be rubbish and other recycled materials. Using these items adds to the pieces’ originality and it’s also a great way for Shiam to demonstrate the importance of recycling and other common environmental issues to the community. For instance in 2006 Shiam built a six-foot-high tap sculpture made entirely out of recyclable materials; to emphasise the importance of saving water.

Shiam Wilcox's Bottle-Nosed Dolphin

Shiam Wilcox's Bottle-Nosed Dolphin

Earlier in 2003 Shiam also built a huge camel again made out of plastic bottles and covered with teddy bear skins, to put forward the idea of killing animals for their skins. When talking about collecting her sources for this sculpture, Shiam said “it was amazing to see that when people found out I was going to skin the teddy bears apart they were horrified. But then I reminded them that well that’s what they do to real animals, which is much worse.”

Making each sculpture is very time consuming and Shiam first draws a number of sketches to help her understand the way the in which she will tackle the project. When talking to Shiam about how long it actually takes to construct her pieces she said, “On average it probably takes me about three weeks of solid ‘nine to five’ working but it just depends because I’ve been making a giant quilt from sewing together crisp packets. Even after a year I’ve still only done six little panels of it, so it just depends on what I’m doing really.”

She also added, “I think people forget about the hard work and time that goes into making these sculptures. Just because I make them out of things that you find around the house people seem to think that it’s just been a quick ‘Blue Peter style’ job.”

Shiam's crocodile

Shiam's crocodile

As well as working in the studio, Shiam has occasionally put on workshops for young children and adults with learning difficulties. Her main reason for doing this is because she likes to share her fun and her creativity with others and says that “seeing kids who don’t have anything to be excited by is quite sad, so I like to get them involved.”

Shiam’s previous work has been exhibited in London, Coventry and Leicester and she is currently working on a moving sculpture of a crocodile again made entirely of plastic bottles. It will eventually be displayed at Birmingham’s Artsfest at the Mailbox from the 14th September until the 16th September. Once the crocodile has been completely built it will be painted by children and then paraded in celebration of the arts and entertainment in the West Midlands.

So next time you’re sat at home maybe feeling a little creative why not take a leaf out of Shiam’s book see if you have the ability to transform rubbish into a piece of art!

last updated: 13/09/07

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