>> Wendy Tremayne (
gaiatreehouse.com) is renovating an RV park into a
100% reuse off-grid B&B in Truth or Consequences, N.M. Another project,
swaporamarama.org), is a clothing swap and DIY
workshop designed to offer people an alternative to consumerism.
Under Rusted Stars
It’s easy to imagine the heaps of camping
gear lying about collecting dust in thrift shops
across America, even as countless commuters
in city subway cars and suburban SUVs emit thoughts
of longing for the great outdoors: “I really am the
outdoorsy type …”
Like contact sports, camping lives in the collective
consciousness as something that comes naturally.
But Gaia’s terrain is less predictable than the man-made environment that urban and suburban dwellers
have grown accustomed to, and so, few are the folk
who actually use a camping stove until the time of
its natural expiration.
Something downright magical happens when the
right gleaner and the right piece of junk — a match
of near-perfect chemistry — find one another, and
would-be trash is morphed into something new,
something that seems even more right than what
it was originally intended for. Andrew Martinez has
whipped up many such alchemical pairings.
Most recently, Martinez found an old Coleman
camping stove at Goodwill and modified it to fulfill
his need for a bathroom cabinet. The cabinet he
wanted to replace was too shallow, and ready-
made choices were expensive, junky, and so standard in size that they couldn’t fit the unique space.
Five bucks and a vision of the old Coleman gutted,
cleaned, and mounted to the wall just above the
john repaid Martinez’ patience.
Every forager has an eye for particular materials.
Martinez likes metal objects. Old, new, rusted, and
reconfigured metal things adorn a fence that he
made to add privacy to the front yard of his home.
The enclosure sports vintage car fenders, a rusty
choo-choo train mobile, empty film reels, and
abstract metal art pieces of his design. All are curiously mounted on, in, and around found wood and
metal verticals that are seamlessly butted together.
As if to add a punch line to the wonderland of this
enclosure, a naked chair stripped of its stuffing and
re-planked with imaginatively shaped wood slats
invites visitors to take a load off. What began as
a shortage of options and led to a taste for reuse
has resolved itself in a one-of-a-kind palate and
good design. Martinez’ idiosyncrasies now serve
as a reminder to passersby that amongst the stale
impression left by monotonous development, there
still reside living beings engaged in authentic play.
magical happens when
the right gleaner and
the right piece of junk
find one another.