South West Wales

Wildlife sculptures from old tools by Carmarthenshire artist

Working on a sculpture Image copyright Chris Crane

A shed full of old and broken tools and machinery may seem a world removed from the beauty of Carmarthenshire wildlife.

But one man has made it his life's work to transform the unloved and discarded into sculptures of some of Wales' most breathtaking creatures.

Artist Chris Crane's works incorporate spanners, bike chains, agricultural machinery and even lorry wheels.

The results are models of the animals he sees while walking near his home in Drefach, Carmarthenshire, including a tawny owl, otters, a raven and a seal.

They are to go on show at Fishguard's Workshop Wales Gallery from Sunday.

"I love the juxtaposition of turning the functional and mechanical into something natural and beautiful," he said.

Image copyright Chris Crane

"A load of junk welded together oughtn't to be able to represent wildlife, but there's something in the engineering of machinery which can convey the kinetic energy of life."

Mr Crane is given scrap by friends, family, and even strangers who learn of his unusual work.

However his main source of material comes from Tools For Self Reliance, a charity which repairs used tools for use in poorer countries.

"Tools For Self Reliance only give me the items which are beyond repair," he said.

"I love the sense that even the seemingly useless can be made into something which can give pleasure; it's the ultimate recycling really.

"Similarly I'm given things people have been keeping in the garage for years, because they thought it might come in handy for something one day, but were never sure what. I'm just pleased to prove them right."

Image copyright Chris Crane

Mr Crane said his inspiration comes as much from the tools he is given as the wildlife he spots.

"I was moved to create my sand eel after seeing how they writhed under the water while I was snorkelling with my daughter," he added.

"But on the other hand my raven came to me when I was given a small bit of agricultural equipment by a friend of mine in sustainable energy installation, and it just leapt out at me straight away that this was a raven's beak."

He added that this collection differs from his usual sculptures, in that he began working on all the exhibits simultaneously, in order to give them a sense of interconnection.

The show will also include the paintings and drawings that led to the creation of each piece.

Image copyright Chris Crane

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