Metal bugs

Bugs made by Betsy Soifer from recycled metals.

One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure. 

At least, that’s the attitude of Betsy Soifer and other artists at Vancouver’s Recycled Arts Festival. For 14 years artists have gathered in Esther Short Park in Vancouver to show off, sell and appreciate recycled art of all kinds. 

“What the Recycled Arts Festival does is really get people to think of their waste differently,” event coordinator Kaley McLachlan-Burton said, later explaining that just because something has outlived its original purpose, that does not mean it should be thrown away. 

Soifer

Betsy Soifer inspects metal she will be using for one of her art projects while at her home studio in Vancouver June 19. 

For Besty Soifer of Vancouver, the recycled art is a creative outlet that her Ph.D in cardiovascular pharmacology doesn’t provide her. 

“What I wanted to do was sculpt,” she said.

Soifer got into sculpting when she moved into a builders house in Coos Bay and started making lampshades out of metal. 

Metal dog

A finely-aged dog statue sits outside Betsy Soifer’s 

home in Vancouver

June 19

“When I moved back to Portland to work I bought my stuff along and started making Christmas gifts and so it began,” she explained. 

Now, Soifer makes house and garden art for her house and is gearing up to go to the Recycled Arts Festival with everything from recycled metal taxidermy to statues for your garden. 

“The people that come through are very nice, the people that run it are very nice. The shoppers are interested in the art,” she said while explaining how the festival is different. Everyone is there to appreciate and talk about recycled art. 

Metal man

A human statue sits outside Betsy Soifer’s home in Vancouver.

Soifer tends to focus on animals for inspiration in her sculptures, from the dog statue in her garden to fish made from driftwood at the beach. 

“I like making a lot of bugs, and dogs,” she said. 

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