THE BIRD IS THE WORD

When Matt Wilson spots a pile of flatware at his local Goodwill, he doesn't see used junk -- he sees a world of possibilities. The Charleston, South Carolina artist has made a name for himself by upcycling old spoons, forks, and knives into whimsical little bird sculptures that he sells under the name, Airtight Artwork. Unsurprisingly, Matt's path to creative professional was a serendipitous one sprinkled with a little magic.

A natural-born artist, he went to college for drawing and painting but was really interested in metal sculpture, and wanted to learn how to weld. So, he applied for a welding job at local commercial ship repair service, Detyens Shipyards, figuring the experience would help him improve his work. But at the interview, Matt and his future boss Loy Stewart ended up having a long conversation about art and creativity. Loy saw something special in Matt and offered him a job, but not the one he was applying for. Instead, Loy created a position that better-suited Matt's talent -- resident artist. In this appointment, Matt creates miniature sculptures of ships being repaired at Detyens, which are then gifted to the engineers as a 'Thank You' gift for their business.

One of many perks of the job is all of the scrap metal that Matt has at his disposal for his off-hours sculpting work. He also scours thrift stores for silverware and usable scraps, and is always on the lookout for leftover organic materials, too. Spoons and knives are bent and manipulated into beaks, wings, and feathers, reclaimed is used as backing. Matt sells his pieces through his Etsy store, and also takes commissions. His ultimate mission is to create art that connects with the public and shows the beauty in everyday materials, while also educating people about the need to conserve and preserve of our natural resources.

(photo via airtightartwork.com)