The woodshop class at Lake City Secondary headed to the transfer station in Williams Lake to scavenge wood for a found art project. Their pieces are now on display at a storefront in Williams Lake. Oliver Berger photos

Trash art project sees students reclaim wood from dump

Artwork and projects on display in Second Avenue storefront

The cliché one man’s trash is another man’s treasure was evident as part of a project by woodshop students at Lake City Secondary.

The Trash Art Project, as it’s called, saw students head to the dump to pick out wood they could take back to the shop. With a Cariboo Regional District (CRD) wood waste re-use waiver, anyone is allowed to pick out wood to reclaim at the wood yard at the transfer station.

The Trash Art Project is a partnership between the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (CCCS) and Lake City Secondary, initiated by the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake, with funding from the City of Williams Lake and the CRD.

Woodshop teacher Andrew Hutchinson, and Oliver Berger, chief green officer of the CCCS, teamed up to take the students to the transfer station.

“It’s perfect because we’re always looking for material and they are always looking to get rid of materials,” said Hutchinson.

Students, after doing some research on what they could make with reclaimed wood, headed out to do some scavenging.

“It was really interactive and really awesome to go somewhere else besides school to find your wood,” said Grade 11 student Skye Inyallie.

“I was looking for anything that had diversity, that had different colours in it because I wanted it to show that it was from used wood. Most of the wood we have here is brown so I wanted to find something that has texture or rustic looking.”

She ended up creating an art project, where she used vinyl to overlay a mosaic onto white-painted wood that she pulled apart from a structure with a hammer and a crowbar.

“The variation of wood you can find and the point you can reuse stuff rather than buying stuff all the time — it’s pretty awesome that you can recycle old wood,” she said.

“Garbage is such a good resource so it’s nice to be able to share that. We throw away so much good stuff its ridiculous,” said Berger.

The wood scavenging permit, available at the CRD office, allows people to safely collect wood from the transfer station for their own projects.

“It’s a great reuse program and it worked out perfect with this trash reuse program that we’ve got going on at the conservation society to team up with Mr. Hutchinson here and get the kids involved,” said Berger.

“It’s a nice curveball for the classroom. It gets the kids out of class and out into a space where they might not normally consume to learn something.

“Usually dumps are associated with getting rid of your stuff, your garbage, whatever it may be — even if emotional trash gets dumped there — and this time they are learning and picking through and taking something out for themselves and letting a piece of wood speak to them and turn into something beautiful.”

Grade 11 student Ethan Ratko found some large two by 10s to create garden planters from.

“It was kind of cool, to see all the wasted wood that some people throw out — that we can still use it, was a neat experience,” he said.

“The different wood gives you different ideas to construct something. With this wood you have to think outside of the box sometimes: where you see a piece that is already cut up you can use your imagination and change it up.”

The projects the students made are now in an art display in a storefront at 2-11 2nd Avenue South next to Barton Insurance, donated by a member of Downtown Williams Lake.

The Trash Art Project has also recently received funding from the CRD and the City of Williams Lake via the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society to run the program again in the fall.

“I want students to see wood is a valuable resource and it shouldn’t be wasted. To be able to have so much material to look at and see,” said Hutchinson. “You collect the wood and it turns into something cool.”

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Some of the finished products now on display on Second Avenue next to Hub Barton Insurance

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