Artist Spotlight: Cal Lane

The disconnect between pretty and powerful in Cal Lane’s “Wheelbarrows and Shovels” series, in which she etches designs into ordinary garden tools, raises the question: Which side is the artist on? Artist Cal Lane somehow takes what we think is ugly and turns it into beautiful things. She is an artist that can transform steel into gorgeous and intricate plasma cut patterns.

Cal Lane specialises in cutting intricate patterns in steel objects like barrels, wheelbarrows and shovels. She says she enjoys making art-pieces out of objects people normally ignore.

Lane was raised on Vancouver Island, where she studied fine art and, later, welding. But instead of traditionally using the method to join two pieces of metal together, she employed her painting training, and began using her blow torch as a subtractive tool, slowly burning pieces of steel away to reveal patterns. A believer of extremes, she combined her methods with opposing materials to further understand the relationship between comparing and contrasting.

In “Wheelbarrows and Shovels”, Lane transforms steel into gorgeous and intricate plasma cut patterns. The artist juxtaposes gritty yardwork tools with impressive ornamental fabric patterns, a combination of what she describes as “industrial and domestic life”. By comparing the two ideas, viewers are inspired to consider the differences of the two unique pieces, a thought provoking process that merges two opposites into one complementary final product.

The detailing on these designs is absolutely ridiculous but let’s be honest, it’s not the most practical design. Anything that you want to shovel around will ultimately fall out between those cut-outs. Maybe the best idea would be to use these designs as decorative pieces, rather than actual gardening tools. Just saying.