Sunday, March 20, 2016

Getting Started: Tin Can Folk Art

WELLSVILLE: Aviator snips, duct cutters and scissors turned cookie, candy and popcorn tins into raw material hammered straight on an anvil and then cut into pieces to make Tin Can Folk Art Welcome signs in Wellsville in a class sponsored by the Allegany Arts Association.
The concept presented for the class as a suggestion
            Eleven participants were on hand, this time all of them women, during the 7 hours it took to turn a significant pile of cans into thorny mass of metal scrap and fun signs.
            While the class offered the chance to make a welcome signs, it was noted that welcome could be spelled any way. Some spelled their family names, others their house numbers. One sign says “home” and other ignored words in favor of flitting butterflies and summer flowers. There weren’t any limits put on creativity as long as the participants worked with safety in mind.
by Karen Dickerson
            Working with tin cans does require some hand strength and when a fellow participant was struggling, others came forward to help. Planning and color choice was another area where people worked together to help and encourage.
Sue Lacy
            The class was taught by Elaine Hardman, better known as one of Wellsville’s potters but someone who has worked with upcycled tin cans since taking a class from Charles Orlando in 2010. Orlando’s class was also an Allegany Arts Association program.
            Marianne Hass, a participant, generally works with the softer, kinder material of fibers to make mice and monsters. Hass said, “The class was great and I loved the location and I think everyone worked together and helped each other. Great class - and I only cut myself once.”
Judy and Tara, neighbors and friends
            The location that Hass noted was at the rear of LaGra Salon and Day Spa on East State Street in Wellsville. Barb and Cal Graves, owners of the building, have been giving free use of space in their building to local artisans and antique vendors since November 2015. A portion of all sales is donated to the Hart Comfort House but the Graves keep none of the money.
            In like generosity, they offered the rear of the building to the Allegany Arts Association for classes they wished to present to the public.
            Karen Dickerson, president of both the Wellsville Art Association and the Allegany Arts Association said, “It was nice to spend the day with family and friends. I learned a lot of ‘tricks of the trade’. We identified the right tool for the job. It made the day go by quickly for us. I will start collecting more tins and be ready for another class. I want to Thank Barb Graves & LaGra for allowing us to do all that pounding and hammering. It was a perfect place for the class.
Kristen Kruger
            Kristen Kruger, a mixed media artist said, “I am excited to be able to apply what I learned in this class to the things I already do and can't wait to get my own tools.”
            To see some of what is for sale to benefit Hart’s Comfort House go to or, better yet, visit the Little Gallery in person. Programs offered by the Allegany Arts Association are always listed at Hardman will help people make aluminum can flowers at the Cuba Library on July 19 under their Community Arts Program.

Elaine Hardman's Sunrise Chicken
Elaine Hardman's Splashy Chicken