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Artist gets to the heart of arts

LaPierre designed a ticker for Tin Man mascot of the Recycled Arts Festival; almost 50 pieces will be donated to American Heart Association for a fundraising auction

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
Published: July 25, 2015, 5:00pm

The Tin Man has a heart, after all.

More precisely, he has a heart after visitors to the recent Recycled Arts Festival chose a ticker for the Tin Man.

As a side project at the June 27-28 festival, about 50 regional artists took part in a competition to make a heart for the event’s new mascot. People could cast ballots for their favorites, and they chose the heart created by Don LaPierre of Vancouver and Preston Kimsey of Milwaukie, Ore.

They built the winning entry with bicycle components. The core is a two-speed hub from a 1963 Schwinn bicycle. The Vissual Stimulation team fashioned the heart chambers from a special sprocket that was salvaged from a 1952 Schwinn bike; it’s called a “Sweetheart” sprocket. (Talk about sticking with the theme!)

“I’ve probably had it lying around for 15 years,” said Kimsey. Once he and LaPierre started fitting components together, “it basically built itself. Everything fit perfectly.”

That included the red chain that defines the traditional heart shape. Kimsey said he’d never seen a red bike chain until he bought it a few months ago. He didn’t need it then, but when Kimsey saw it, he had to buy it.

The Tin Man has a heartbeat inside his tin chest now. The pulse is represented by a flashing red safety light from a child’s bike, Kimsey said.

Another Vancouver artist, Ariel Young, earned third place by shaping a heart from fused glass.

“I make jewelry from melted wine bottles,” said Young, whose studio is Allotropy Designs. Young didn’t just bring an artist’s perspective to the challenge, she said.

“I was a cardiac nurse before this,” Young said. “I’m fascinated by the heart. It’s mechanical. It’s electrical. There is so much there and so much that’s fascinating.”

Young also used an internal light that was programmed to flash to the rhythm of a human heart.

Second place went to Craig Gurney from Belfair.

The nonwinning pieces of art will be donated to the American Heart Association for a fundraising auction, said Sally Fisher, sustainability specialist with Clark County Environmental Services.

The Tin Man's new ticker was made by Don LaPierre and Preston Kimsey from old bike parts.
The Tin Man's new ticker was made by Don LaPierre and Preston Kimsey from old bike parts. Photo
Max McBurnett crafted a wooden heart from an old maple burl.
Max McBurnett crafted a wooden heart from an old maple burl. Photo
Christie Sell's piece features metal shotgun shell components.
Christie Sell's piece features metal shotgun shell components. Photo
Columbian files
For the "tinth" anniversary of Clark County's Recycled Arts Festival, a Tin Man was created by metal artist Joe Clifton. It housed a temporary heart until a new one could be chosen at the Recycled Arts Festival.
Columbian files For the "tinth" anniversary of Clark County's Recycled Arts Festival, a Tin Man was created by metal artist Joe Clifton. It housed a temporary heart until a new one could be chosen at the Recycled Arts Festival. Photo
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