Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 34

Rusty
Revival
Sherry Day creates whimsical art
from salvaged metal

art photos courtesy Day Dreamin' Metal Art

Birds made of spoons and living in a nest of drill bits, whimsical heads made from oxygen tank caps, chains,
cogs, washers and ball bearings, and alligators from chains, ball bearings and blades are a few of the playful
pieces Union artist Sherry Day creates from salvaged metal.

by Heather Berry | hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

S

herry Day gets a rush from gathering neglected, rust-covered metal
and giving it new life. What were once car parts, old barns or even
broken-down antiques may find their way into one of the artist's
gangly yard birds, cog-shaped tables or metal floral arrangements.
Walking through Sherry's 6,000-square-foot workshop behind her home in
Union, no patterns, forms or plans will be found. While
you might expect a shop piled with old metal to be a disorganized mess, Sherry manages to keep her work area tidy.
Unused tools hang along the walls while 5-gallon buckets
hold odds and ends such as spark plugs, trampoline springs,
giant bolts and yards of rusted chain.
Union
"I was on Pinterest one day and a metal flower caught my
eye," Sherry says. "I knew right then I had to make one."
Sherry's husband, Dave, thought she was crazy when she
came home with her own welder and set up a work place on
their patio. She outgrew the 12-foot-by-12-foot space and soon
Day Dreamin' Metal Art was born. Sherry hadn't welded before. "I got on
YouTube and watched videos," says the self-taught welder. The first flower she
made in 2014 still stands in her mother's yard.
Before starting her business, Sherry worked as a district sales manager for a
national merchandising company for more than a dozen years. While the salary
was good, she didn't love her job. She began selling antiques and welding small
craft items to fill time and make a little money.
"After a while, my art was outselling the antiques," says the petite artist. "So
I quit selling antiques and began going to area shows to sell my pieces."
Karen Callahan of Washington met the artist years ago at a garage sale and
later, at art shows, where Karen bought her first piece of Sherry's work.
"I own at least 30 pieces," says Karen, who claims to be Sherry's No. 1 fan.
Birds made of spoons on nests of drill bits, a hip-high flower arrangement and
a haunted house (with bats) are few of the rusty beauties Karen now owns.
"She can look at an old piece of metal and see something totally new in it,
and that's why I love her work," says the collector.
Last year, Sherry sent her work in to be juried by the Best of Missouri Hands
organization. Much to her surprise, her work was accepted on the first try.

34

RURAL MISSOURI | APRIL 2018

The prestigious classification helped representatives of Silver Dollar City
learn about Sherry's metal work. This past fall, they offered her one of the
highly sought-after guest artist spots during the National Crafts & Cowboy
Festival, where Sherry will again display for five weeks this year.
"I don't really know how long it takes to make a piece because I usually work
on several pieces at once," Sherry says, noting she usually has one big project
she works on continuously until it's ready for a show.
"Right now, that piece would be this," she says, grasping the base of a heavy
tree sitting on her metal work table. The nearly 4-foot-tall tree is composed of
numerous pieces of rebar Sherry welded together. Although made from metal,
the roots, bark and limbs look like the real thing.
Some of the artist's more playful pieces include her popular "whimsy
heads," which uses metal caps from portable oxygen tanks to make a
head. Then she adds pieces of various length chain for hair, tiny parts
from old cars for eyelashes or glasses, and washers and bearings for
eyes and a nose. "I may take old pulleys to make a bow tie or cut
pieces of scrap sheet metal to make a hat," she adds. "Then I usually
use a copper wash on the piece, which adds a lot of character."
Pieces of Sherry's art run from $5 for an old barn tin piece to $500
for a horse wall hanging, so there's something for everyone.
"My art is a bit like a puzzle," says Sherry. "I have something in mind I want
to make, then I dig out all the old metal items I want to use for that piece and
put them on my work table. Then I put it together on the table. If it's ready,
I start welding. If I need more pieces, I go hunting at antique stores or scrap
metal yards. And when I like the piece, it's done."
She walks along the back wall of the shop surveying her metal inventory.
Colanders and pots will become parts of birds, nutcrackers will become bug
antennae and trampoline springs will be curls.
Sherry says she hasn't begun the largest thing she'd like to make one day -
a full-sized metal horse - but it's on her bucket list.
"I gave up a big paycheck, but that's all I miss," she says. "I love what I'm
doing and I love that people love my work. And that makes it all worthwhile."
Follow Day Dreamin' Metal Art on Facebook for Sherry's updated show schedule. You may also contact the artist at daydreaminmetalart@gmail.com or 636388-9048.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2018

Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2018 - Intro
Rural Missouri - April 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - April 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - April 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 4
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Rural Missouri - April 2018 - Cover3
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