Metal Sculpture Artist
Rustic, bold and historic; the coexistence of metal and nature is an aesthetic unique to the Outback, the place we call home. From old windmills churning lazily in the breeze to the forgotten fences laid to rest by time, the Outback has a magnificent way of blending manmade metal into its own symphony of colours.
One artist who has retrieved the old bygone wires and metal sheets of our Outback and turned them into art is our very own Scrapmetalsheila; Milynda Rogers. Breathing life into the metal she finds around her property and elsewhere in the area, Rogers has created over a 100 sculptures, half of which are displayed publically around our region.
Scrap Metal Shiela
TIMELESS, CONTEMPORARY, RECYCLED
'I really hated seeing all the steel and wire going to waste,' explains Rogers. 'It can be created into so many great things. Really, you could put it out in the middle of the desert and it'll last for 50 years; you're giving it a second life.'
From sculptures of small regional animals to large, full-scale replicas of dinosaurs, Rogers often makes barbed wire and steel look almost like putty; within every sculpture, a certain life-like quality has grown over the years in her work. But as one can imagine, working with metal of any kind is a task not easily undertaken.
A Balancing Act
Creating sculptures that will last a lifetime
'When I do public sculptures that I know will be in public places, I have to think about the design and the logistics of it; I have to think, 'will it withstand weather and storms? Will it be a risk? One of the hardest pieces I've completed due to this was probably the dinosaur out in Mudaburra called 'barb', explains Rogers.
'Just getting the proportions right, and making sure it stands up-right was incredibly challenging. When you sculpt, you always have to make sure that the weight is at the bottom, and that the top is lighter. I've had some failures along the way due to the problem; I get carried away with the design, and at the end, the legs aren't strong enough.'
Having honed her metalcraft for over nine years, Milynda Rogers started her metal career with the Barcaldine show, entering a Goanna she made from barbed wire. After winning first place, her passion grew from then onwards; but her inspiration came from the other public art we have in our region.
Into the Future
TO LAKE DUHN AND BEYOND
'I was driving through Blackall and I saw the big ball public art statues they have there. Earlier that day we'd been pulling down all these old fences, and I thought, why not? I had all this wire-- I thought I could make something similar,' says Rogers.
'After I completed the first ball, I thought; if you can make a ball, you can make other things.’
Now, Milynda’s newest project with Red Ridge is bringing to life the eagle from Joyce Crombie's and Jean Barr-Crombie's book; Looking For Tucker.
'Because this eagle is going to be out on public display in an area that's going to get a lot of foot traffic, I'm making the eagle's frame out of new steel. It's going to be up high, on a pole, so I want it to be as structurally sound as possible. After completing the steel frame, I'll then go into the detail work of the eagle with scrap metal; feathers outstretched, the eyes, The detail work is what really takes up most of the process.'
Having created the largest sculpture trail in the world with numerous statues dotted about Central Queensland, Scrap Metal Sheila's art has once and for all married the Outback's landscape with the metal it has coexisted with for decades. If you'd like to see more of her work, you can find Milynda at her facebook page Scrapmetalsheila!
From us at Red Ridge, we thank Milynda Rogers for allowing us to tell her artistic journey!