Trawden Trash Man
by Sophia Smith
THE ART OF UPCYCLING
Behind the uncommon materials is Michael Holt, not your usual artist. Michael, who lives in Trawden, is a man using his imagination, so if you have a broken vacuum cleaner, a spare piece of wood from the shed door, or beer bottle tops, watch the magic take place.
Michael had always planned to retire from his engineering job at 62 but due to his wife Carole’s ill health, retired a year early, in November 2018. After settling into his role caring for Carole, Michael started creating weird and wonderful art to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“We are the only village in the country with a local run community centre, shop, library and now pub. I helped out volunteering for the community shop, but lockdown arrived and I couldn’t leave Carole by herself, but every Tuesday, I volunteer for Trawden in Bloom and we get allocated different spots to go to, and I usually look after the area at the bottom of our street. I can use my love for gardening to give back to the village I’ve called home for 32 years.”
Michael draws inspiration from his dad, Colin Holt, who has also been carving and making metal structures all his life. During lockdown, Michael created a wonderful assortment of steampunk animal creations for the countryside scene in Cotton Tree.
The idyllic scene included Aries the ram, Dolly the sheep, and Brewster the dog with their vigilant shepherd. Aries’ body formed from a fire extinguisher and vacuum cleaner, with her head shaped from an old leather bike saddle and topped off with real ram’s horns. Dolly is conjured up out of a neighbours shed, and Brewster is created from Hobgoblin beer barrels and binoculars. I think we could all have some beer barrels to spare for Michael’s creations after three lockdowns… what a ‘crafty’ idea! Michael created the shepherd from old mannequin parts he stumbled across in a charity shop.
“I made a space craft called the Starship Enterprise out of an old bed pan and a space shuttle that was sent to my neighbours’ son all the way to the USA and a robot lamp designed from an old Harley Davidson box.” Michael’s motto is to “live life to the fullest and live for today” and only time will tell what electrifying things Michael will conjure up as he drives around the country for antiques and hidden treasures. He is busy working on space shuttles and stainless-steel fire extinguishers to be made into interiorstorage items. Hand over Michael a piece of scrap metal, and he’ll create a work of artistic genius. The world of steampunk captured Michael’s imagination as there seems to be no end to what kind of art he can create with the most cost-effective items available… junk.
You can find Michael’s marvellous inventions at Shine Boutique in Trawden and his Facebook page ‘Holts Weird and Wonderful’ with all profits going to Alzheimer’s Reasearch UK.