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Candace Bradbury-Carlin | found-object artist

  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin talks about her art work in her studio in South Deerfield.<br/><br/>
  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin with one of her art pieces  in her studio in South Deerfield.
  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin shows how the piece in the background was shown at the APE gallery in Northampton.
  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin with one of her art pieces in her studio in South Deerfield.
  • A Candace Bradbury-Carlin work in progress in her studio in South Deerfield.
  • A Candace Bradbury-Carlin piece of art work in her studio in South Deerfield.
  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin talks about her art work in her studio in South Deerfield.
  • Candace Bradbury-Carlin talks about her art work in her studio in South Deerfield.<br/>

Candace Bradbury-Carlin likes shiny things. And plastic webbing. And bottle lids. And blocks of wood remnants, frayed segments of nylon rope and, oh yes, those little yellow nets that lemons come in. She likes them even better, she says, if she can rescue them from a trash heap.

Bradbury-Carlin, of South Deerfield, is a landscape artist-turned-graphic-designer-turned-found-object-artist, whose environmental conscience guides her creativity as much as the color and texture of the items she works with.

“I’m immediately drawn to things that have some translucency, shine to it, filigree texture,” said the artist, who creates three-dimensional art using found objects. She describes her work as “textural art made from reimagined materials.”

Rather than buy supplies, Bradbury-Carlin, 46, prefers to pick up items she sees on the sides of streets. She’s been known to meander through town dumps in search of cast-off treasures and gladly accepts items from friends.

“The environmentalism comes into play because I’d rather hold onto things if there’s any aesthetic potential,” she said. “I feel like I’m doing a service by working with what is already here.”

There is an element of surprise to Bradbury-Carlin’s work. She pairs items that might not come together naturally in the real world: twigs from her backyard with those lemony wrappings, or grains of rice and pages from a book; or cast-off jewelry and tree bark.

“You never know what’s going to come across your path, what someone’s going to give you,” she said. “Then you try to find some creative result. ... When it comes to materials it’s like relationships,” she added. “Sometimes you know right away, this is going to be a lifelong friend.”

Spontaneity appeals to Bradbury-Carlin. Once, when she was driving in Amherst, she came across sheets of bright-yellow, mesh-like plastic lying on the side of the road in front of a home-construction site.

“I don’t know what it was, but it was piled up, obviously it was going in the trash. And I thought, ‘‘Ooh, I could do something really cool with that,’ ” she said. “I stopped my car, put it in my trunk and brought it home. ... That’s a typical me situation.”

When she started to play with the material, rolling it into loose tubes, “it started to feel a little bit, very abstractly, like figures, like bodies” she said. She tried tucking orange plastic rope, which she had unwound until it started to get a “nesty feeling,” into the tubes. The color combination was so striking, she says, that when she put them together, “it felt almost like life — the essence, the energy.”

Bradbury-Carlin often doesn’t know where a project will end up.

“My work is pure gesture,” she said. “I play and play and play. Try different things, and I’m thinking, ‘What is this bringing out for me internally? What am I thinking of?’ The materials seem to kind of dictate the form,” she said. “I feel like I’m a partner is this material’s destiny.”

— Kathleen Mellen

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