Some of the most imaginative artwork to be found in Sonoma County is made from discarded or recycled materials.
There is something so intriguing about taking old and familiar objects, and crafting them into something delightfully different and artistic. Whether you call it trash art, folk art, or junk art, here's a quick roundup of where to view a few of these recycled wonders in Sonoma County.
Florence Avenue, Sebastopol
Head to the three-block-long Florence Avenue in Sebastopol for a free sculpture tour of “trashy works” jointly made by Patrick Amiot and his wife, Brigitte Laurent. Amiot creates the sculptures from found objects — old cars, cookware, discarded pipes, aluminum trash cans, and more — and Laurent bestows their bright-hued paint jobs.
Back in 2001, Amiot placed a large sculptural piece that he’d made for fun — an outsize fisherman fashioned from an old water heater — on his front lawn. Neighbors loved it, and nearly every Florence Avenue front yard now sports at least one Amiot-Laurent sculpture. So do quite a few local businesses.
You can follow this map to find Patrick Amiot sculpture, both on Florence Avenue and elsewhere in Sebastopol.
Highway 101 Sculpture Trail
To explore another unique display of outdoor sculpture that includes several pieces made with recycled materials, take Highway 101 to the communities of Cloverdale and Geyserville in northern Sonoma County.
You'll find artwork scattered throughout these two towns and along historic Asti Road, which connects them. Organized by the Geyserville Community Foundation, Geyserville Chamber of Commerce, and the Cloverdale Arts Alliance, this Sculpture Trail is a year-round outdoor display of artwork of all types and styles.
Download a Sculpture Trail map, or pick up copies at the chamber of commerce offices in both towns, or from local merchangs. Follow the trail to find artwork of all types, including those from recycled materials.
Other Artists, Countywide
Of course, these permanent exhibitions in Sebastopol and along the Highway 101 Sculpture Trail are just a sampling of the creative recycling efforts by Sonoma County artists.
Many work with "found" or "junk" materials, and display their pieces in seasonal shows, festivals, or other events (with upcoming dates and other details listed on the artists' websites).Here are a few:
Monty Monty, in Santa Rosa, transforms cast-off objects into complex assemblage pieces.
Josef Szuecs, in Occidental, creates figures and other works from obsolete materials and reclaimed wood.
Jan Schultz, in Petaluma, repurposes vintage and welded-metal objects into striking and sometimes whimsical figures and structures.
Swede’s Feeds, Kenwood
While the items at this garden, pet, and feed store may be more artisan than fine art, they are also one-of-a-kind, useful, and attractive. The eye-catching metal statues out front typically might include a 10-foot dinosaur, an eight-foot rooster, a raging stallion, and all kinds of metal chickens, goats, sheep, and more.
Be sure to check out the metal multi-story bird houses, fountains, and garden stakes. They’re fashioned by artisans in Mexico and made from old cars, oil barrels, signs, machinery gears, and other discards.
And then there’s the selection of beautifully made items crafted from wine barrel staves: wine racks, chairs, tables, and more. Or, if you’re joining the growing ranks of backyard chicken farmers, you might like Swede’s nearly-indestructible coops made from reclaimed redwood, or the recycled redwood line of bluebird, bat, owl, and other avian-specific boxes.
Swede's Feeds, 9140 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-5050