Have you ever dreamed of finding a cornucopia: a crazy, dusty junk shop piled high with curiosities, where you could spend a happy hour rummaging and delving, drawn by the possibility of discovering a gem, a gorgeous mysterious object that you would treasure forever?
Last week, as I made my way home from a friend’s in the late afternoon/early evening, I passed a turning I’ve walked past countless times and noticed an A-board, hanging baskets and crates of items out on the street. Intrigued, I went to investigate and found a series of workshops, open to the public, where artists and craftspeople are taking waste materials and turning them into art, furniture and household items.
Choppa White and the other occupants of Elementree Studios rummage through skips to collect bits of industrial machinery, pieces of wood and metal, and refashion them into tables, cupboards, frames for mirrors, boxes…
Choppa’s workshop is a sight to behold. Everywhere I looked, something else surprising caught my eye: a trumpet, a shop window model, wooden index card drawers, a dog curled up asleep on an armchair… Choppa loves to turn something unwanted into something cherished and ‘the quirkier, the better’.
Somehow it added to my sense of magic when I asked Choppa how long Elementree Studios had been there and he told me ‘nine years’. How is it possible that I’ve never found this place before?