Sharon Battaglia, Plainwell, Michigan Artist Creating SALAVAGED FOLKART
When you first meet Sharon Battaglia (the 'g' is silent), you wouldn't think that she has hundreds of hand tools and enough power tools that would make any normal man drool!
Sharon, owner of "Another Man's Treasure," located in downtown Plainwell, Michigan, has been at 120 South Main Street for 5 and a half years. Before that, her shop was located "off the beaten path" in South Haven, Michigan. She was there for four years.
"Okay," you're asking yourself. "What does power tools and being a shop owner have to do with being a Michigan artist?"
"It all began about three years ago," Sharon said taking a break from power sawing what looked like a piece from an antique chair. She gave me her trade-mark smile and said, "I saw something and said, 'hey! I could do that!"
Sharon calls her creations SALVAGED FOLKART, and what creations they are!
She began collecting the junque that other's discarded. She marks her calendar for junque week, and yes, there are a few of us left...she is a self proclaimed dumpster-diver.
Soon, friends began picking up & saving things for her. Pieces of moulding. Old garbage can lids. Barn wood. The list goes on.
Soon, the cellar under her shop was full of treasures, just waiting to be made into functional, fun, one-of-a-kind work of art!
I mention the cellar- this is where Sharon stored her finds....AND THIS IS WHERE SHE WORKED! The cellar was her workshop. Her STUDIO.
The cellar with the metal doors, the cellar who's stairs were so steep and narrow, it AMAZED me how she got her supplies and junque down. The cellar with the field stone walls, dirt floor and low ceiling....
Many of Sharon's pieces are not small! I just cannot imagine moving her gigantic cabinets up those stairs!
In October 2008, Sharon moved her workshop out of Aunty Em's cellar and next door to her shop. In only 4 months, her 1,400+ square foot studio is full of 'new / old' treasures awaiting THEIR turn to be incorporated into one of Sharon's tables. Or chairs. Or benches. Or..... believe me, the list goes on!
While I was interviewing Sharon, a burly construction worker came to her door and asked her if she wanted 3 large pieces of slate. Her face lit up and I SWEAR, I could see the wheels turning inside her head.
She told him, "SURE!! Bring them in!" And so they did. TWO burly construction guys. One by one.
I was in awe! I asked her what she might do with them, and she already had 3 or 4 ideas! "Things like this always happen to me! I am so happy with what I do!"
While watching Sharon work, that is so obvious. She is in her element. THIS is what she was put on earth to do.
Her mind rarely rests- and once you meet her, you will be hooked on her personality! So...before you toss grandma's beat-up shutters to the curb, or burn Uncle Henry's funky color moulding, or before burning that stack of lath that is sitting in your barn, give Sharon a call!
undergroundart/Crystal Overhue is the Michigan Arts Editor for Wandering Educators