Driving around one day shortly after the 2008 elections, John Orischak couldn’t help but notice the hundreds of campaign lawn signs sprinkled throughout town. Realizing that many were left behind, he decided to start picking them up. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do with them, but he knew that they could be recycled somehow.
Tinkering around in his garage, Orischak recalled an arc welder that he had purchased about six months prior, and an idea came to him.
“I put two and two together and realized I could take the wire from these signs and make them into art," he explained, "turning it upside down into a rustic looking American flag”.
During a garage sale one afternoon, Orischak found a buyer right away for this handcrafted piece of recycled art. Wired Art Works had just sold the first piece of thousands to come. A photo of the first American flag is displayed proudly on his website.
Soon, he stepped out of the straight-forward version of the flags and started to twist and turn the metal into all sorts of designs.
“Each one is bent with my hands, a vice and then soldered in my garage," Orischak explained. "Initially, they were all bare–a rustic looking color–then my wife suggested that the pieces could be painted too, and so she paints them."
The business changes with the seasons, too. Orischak makes flowers, trellises, flags and more during the spring and summer, then shifts to leaves, Dracula, skeletons and Frankenstein in the fall. He also makes some for holiday decorations and all sorts of designs that are custom ordered. Two recent ones were a golfer and a rabbit.
The pieces range in price from $6 for a peace sign to $30 for the larger “living pictures” that have ornately decorated frames and a vase that will hold flowers. The best sellers are the peace signs and flowers.
Orischak said his favorite pieces to make are faces. "I make each one without a plan," he said. "I just start twisting and make whatever comes out of my head. Each one is a like a child–it is unique. Sometimes, I even name them for fun.”
There seems to be an endless supply of former campaign signs for Orischak, who gathers them from all over the area from friends and people who know he recycles them for artwork. Even former campaign committees with older signs in storage have been a resource for the artist.
This is good news, as there seems to be a consistent demand for Wired Art Works. The finished pieces are peppered throughout the metro Detroit area, from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada, with the furthest one away on display in a restaurant in the Philippines.
Their selling season kicks off with the , where Wired Art Works is a vendor, and then into the Dearborn Farmers Market, where Orischak has grown his business for the past few years.
In addition to Elaine and John selling the works at the Dearborn Farmers Market each Friday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Wired Art Works can be found online at www.WiredArtWorks.com and on Facebook, where special events and appearances are posted regularly. They'll also be taking part in the second Evening Market, to be held 5-8 p.m. on Aug. 23.
Also at the Market
- A new seating area will be available for visitors to the market
- Corn roast
- See the nearly finished sculpture
- Oakwood Healthcare hosts a nutritional program