Wiring up a New Life for Trash
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The wire sculpture artist uses wire with recycled or recuperated materials to create stunning pieces of artwork.
The wire sculpture artist uses wire with recycled or recuperated materials to create stunning pieces of artwork.
“I have made windows from empty gum packages, globes from bread bag tabs, wall hangings from the aluminum can pieces,” she said. “I aim to help people see further possibilities for what they consider to be trash.”
Each of her sculptures starts with a profile of the subject. She recreates the shape with heavy wire then builds it out in 3D.

“Then I switch to a finer wire to add a skin, layer by layer, until I get the density I'm looking for. Things like legs, arms, wings, ears get added at this point as well. If the design is to be freestanding, I also have some engineering to do.”

Brunetta, who was born and raised in Barrie, first became interested in art in high school.
“In my senior year, I did my co-op placement with local artist Marlene Hilton Moore. In exchange for cleaning countless brushes, stretching giant canvases and prepping them for painting with smelly rabbit skin glue, I received art lessons and learned how to do custom picture framing. My phys ed teacher still remembers that I blew off a golf game, choosing a field trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario instead.”
Brunetta used her framing skills to work her way through university where she earned a B.A. Hon. in Translation (French-English).

While she didn't study art in university, Brunetta continued to hone her craft.
“I attended the Haliburton School of the Arts every summer for a week, taking courses that ranged from willow furniture to hat making to sculpture.”
She also took group and semi-private lessons with potters, goldsmiths, basket weavers and felt-makers.
“I'm a lifelong learner, always picking up new skills to add to my repertoire.”
It was at the Haliburton School of the Arts that Brunetta made her first wire sculpture. The rest is history.
“I've always been drawn to working in three dimensions and have sculpted in wood, clay, iron and assemblage in the past,” she said. “One year at the Haliburton School of the Arts I chose a wire sculpture class and was completely enchanted by the medium. It was 3D drawing! Extremely flexible and a number of my jewelry making, weaving and sculpting skills could be incorporated.”
Brunetta returned to Barrie in 2010.

“The unique location of Barrie, with so many places easily accessible within an hour of the city, has been an asset to my artistic career. And to have such a beautiful environment in which to live and work is invaluable to me. I have wildlife in my backyard, proving to be an excellent source for sculptural reference.”
Brunetta's work can be inspired by anything from shadows in the snow to the construction of plastic packaging.
“The light shining through a stack of empty gum packages and reflecting off the foil was the start of a stained glass window made from over 200 gum packages. The challenge is to quit thinking of ideas. I scatter sketchbooks around my house and studio to download ideas from my brain so they don't keep me awake all night.”
Brunetta is a fan of many other sculpture artist and artisans including her wire sculpture instructor Charles O'Neil from Haliburton.

“Cal Lane is a sculptor who transforms oil tanks and shovels and cars into lace and her work makes me long for a plasma cutter. Col Mitchell is a contemporary paper artist and her work makes me smile widely every time I view it.”
In addition to her wire sculpture art pieces, she has an Eco Art & Craft line of jewelry, decorative items and accessories she creates primarily from up-cycled aluminum cans.
“I also make my own packaging from up-cycled cardboard packaging and junk mail. Also papercraft items from old books,” she said.

Brunetta currently has a small studio in downtown Barrie where her work is on display.
“If you see the Dragon outside, come in and say hello - I'm inside and working,” she said.
Bruntetta's Eco Art & Craft items are in the gift shops of English & Miller tea shop, Le Petit Chapeau (a hat shop) and the MacLaren Art Gallery in Barrie, Quest Art Gallery in Midland, the Mad and Noisy Gallery in Creemore and in the CN Tower Gift Shop in Toronto. 
For more information, visit lbrunetta.ca.

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