The Junk Man



It has been said that one’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This rings especially true for Davison scrap metal artist, Stacy Rhines. Most people look at a pile of junk and see – well, a pile of junk! Stacy sees a turtle, a grasshopper or a snowman. His whimsical art, made from metal scraps, old chains, augers and tools, have names like Butterfly Girl, Cranky Cat, Doodle Dog and Howdy Cowboy. Stacy became interested in his craft about five years ago when the theme for his family Christmas was “Make it or Bake it.” Everyone had to either make or bake a gift to exchange at their holiday gathering. He rummaged from what he had and created a whimsical garden piece that everyone in the family loved.

After that, Stacy began crafting with metal as a creative outlet from his day job in machine design, wherein everything must be exact and precise. The second piece he created was aptly named Opera Man, as the piece looked like it was singing. After fashioning some birds out of pipe wrenches, Stacy began selling his artwork, which can be viewed on his Facebook page, Scrap to Art Metal Works. Some of his more popular pieces are imaginative cats and dogs and grasshoppers made of railroad spikes. Some are just too sentimental to part with, like the beautiful flower that he made for his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary and an accent table, the top of which is inlaid with old tools that belonged to his wife’s grandfather and father. “We use that table all the time for family gatherings,” he said. “The kids love to sit and eat at the tool table.” Stacy’s latest work of art is a fish made from several pick axes.

StaceyRhines_01Stacked neatly behind Stacy’s workshop are scrap pieces he has collected over the years. Everything from old farm equipment, rusty bikes, tools and car parts to pans, wheels and rusty nuts and bolts make an intriguing assortment. “My material comes from all over,” he laughed. Much of the material comes from farm and barn sales or online, and Stacy is not above recovering a piece of scrap from trash sitting alongside the road.

As a man of Christian faith, Stacy believes it is his calling to use his creative gift to help others, and he often donates his artwork for needy causes. A snail sculpture he recently made was auctioned for $200 in a fundraiser for a family who lost a loved one in a car accident. He always donates a piece for the Davison Relay for Life, a fundraiser that benefits cancer patients. Stacy displays his work at various shows, including the Flint Art Fair, and at Bear Soup Deli in Downtown Davison. He also does commission work.

“A lot of people like my artwork because it is re-purposed,” says Stacy, adding that many of his customers also like the look of rust. What Stacy likes best about his craft is that it’s just plain fun. “It is my creative outlet!” he exclaimed. “I can make whatever I want; it’s refreshing in that respect.”
Photography by Mike Naddeo


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