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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Steve Kelley Turns One Man's Junk Into The Most Unusual, Imaginative & Fun Creations

Mar 11, 2016 02:58PM ● By Ryan Frisch
How many times have you gone to your garage, barn or attic and despaired of ever straightening out the tangle of things long past use or recognition? Hired someone to (please!) come and haul it away, or did you shut the door and forget it?

However, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Steve Kelley is a guy who would have a field day with your stuff. He would see an old drill or eggbeater, wheels from a rusted wagon, a box of unused clothespins, pieces of wood or metal from large, once useful machines and turn it all into a magic act.

Mentally toss the bunch in the air at random and have them come together in the most unusual, imaginative and fun creations. Attractive, complicated things you are invited to examine. Your smile of anticipation is rewarded: It’s two-way art!

Steve  finds inspiration in the environment, the “space in life I’m occupying at the time, from junk yard items that scream for another life,” from messages he wants to pass along and from his wife Chevin.

He’s not a trained artist, has no technical or mechanical background, hasn’t been building these “contraptions” for all that long and is “bewildered by it.” But he also has a plan: Steve says of his line of Good Made Things: “I attempt to intrigue, entertain and engage.” He hopes folks will touch his creations, but also hopes there’s something that “touches them”. He helps by attaching an “inspirational thought or scripture verse to it”.

It may all go back to the third-grader whose dad put him together with a bar of ivory soap and a paring knife, brought home boxes of old car parts that Steve took apart and put together in an entertaining and Rube Goldberg fashion.

As you might deduct, Steve never begins a piece with a specific idea, or “direction or  finished result in mind”. For him, it’s ‘simple’: He views a bunch of parts and starts selecting one after another. Never knows where it’s going until it’s done. It’s also a creative release, allowing him to “let go of life’s tensions, knowing I’m using a skill I can take no credit for”, and which he  finds quite “humbling”.

What he hopes to accomplish? To put something in the hands of someone who will enjoy it as much as he enjoyed creating it. “I want them to touch it every time they walk by it.” He alludes to the owner of one of his pieces whom he says “starts every day with a cup of coffee and a spin of the wheel on “All Around the Lake”. This “delights” Steve. If people tell him they wish they could do that, he would be “delighted” to tell them: “you can do all things through God—you just have to put your hands and heart to the task.”

You may contact Steve via email: [email protected] com or by phone: 615.336.9940.

By Jo Mitchell

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