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Artist teaches recycling in a creative way
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Mary Lee applies paint to a simple figure cut from tin while creating a scene on a plank of wood at the Bonefish Art Gallery & Studio.

Bonefish Art Gallery & Studio and Get Green Art Gallery

Where: 4609 Price Road, Gainesville

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturdays or by appointment

More info: 770-366-3980

Lisa Pirkle's mission for the past three years has been to reuse and recycle materials for her artwork.

And now she's teaching others to do the same.

"We've become truly a throw-away society and we think nothing of throwing things away," said Pirkle, a Gainesville resident. "Before it was cool to work on the environment, I worked on the Chattahoochee Project years ago - about the biggest polluters that went into the river. ... It's been a concern of mine, but it's better now because people will listen to you about it."

Pirkle uses anything from soup cans, metal lids, soda tabs, pieces of metal, copper or old wood to create her folksy, green art.

"I have had people headed to the dump with a trailer full of trash and ask me if I could use anything they were about to dump," Pirkle said. "I collect the wood the beavers have left behind and make driftwood mirrors from that, I have collected the metal roofing from chicken houses and we have a lot of those here in Gainesville.

Now, Pirkle takes her art one step further, by teaching children and adults how to create green art.

"I talk to them about the materials we are using and where they came from and what we can create from them."

Pirkle said green art is a way to help educate people and be creative at the same time.

Mary Lee Branch, a Gainesville resident, has been taking art classes on and off at Bonefish Art Gallery & Studio since Pirkle opened the studio almost two years ago.

"When you think about where everything came from that we are using ... whether you are an artist or not, you enjoy having the evening out and it's fun doing something different," Branch said. "It's the kind of thing that is somebody's treasure is someone else's trash."

Pirkle teaches green art, painting and mosaics along with other mediums at her studio, and she also sells her own art at the studio. The art ranges from copper sculptures, to bird baths, sinks and oil lamps.

She uses a plasma torch to cut the copper into fish or abstract designs.

Many of the art pieces at the studio are aquatic themed - for a specific reason.

"Water breeds life to me; it really does. And a lot of people collect and buy fish, but then with the green art you can do animals, too," Pirkle said.

On Dec. 6, Pirkle will celebrate the two-year anniversary of Bonefish Art Studio's opening. The studio, located on Price Road, will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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