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Featured Upcycling Artist #1 - WhatTheFolkArt

I'm starting a new feature on  Fairly often I will feature an artist that works with found objects or participates in upcycling.

I browse Etsy from time to time to see what great upcycling things other folks are creating.  I think it's very important for each of us to not only recycle whenever possible but to also find secondary uses for everyday household items to at least double their consumer lifespan. 

A little while back I ran across "WhatTheFolkArt".   I was quickly entertained by all the neat robot figures that Thomas assembled out of old kitchenware, tins, utensils, nuts, bolts, and more.  Each artpiece had a distinct expression or character.  Each one stares back at you with the expectation for you to start a conversation with it.  Some are even assembled to still be used as canisters. 

(from the website:

Thomas Shelton is a self-taught artist living in New Jersey. Most of his work is experimental, using found objects and recycled material.

His work can be called “folky” because of the random materials used and the different techniques and styles that are displayed in each piece. He has the ability to manipulate objects to a point where it becomes art, but still allow the original nature of the object to shine through. Some of his art is practical, including a line of key racks, made mostly of reclaimed wood and metal.

Coming soon to the site are a new line of characters made out of clay and other materials. These guys can be a little dark sometimes, but also have a cute and loving side.

Tom puts great care into constructing his pieces so that they are resistant to normal handling and small stumbles. The major construction of the items is done with screws and nails and bolts so that pieces won’t fall off. On items that are painted, a protective finish is added to prevent fading or chipping over the years.

Tom is constantly creating new characters and is open to all suggestions. If you would like a custom piece made or specific objects used, please email

Be sure to stop by Thomas' Etsy Shop "WhatTheFolkArt" to enjoy his great art.

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