It has been perfectly natural for Rex to be produced in an environmentally friendly way. From the very first days back in 1991, the scrap yard was the focus of my attention. Leicester had one of the largest scrap yards in Europe and I was able to scavenge for nearly 100% of the materials required for Rex. It's utterly amazing what people resign to the scrap heap. Much of the steel reclaimed was actually in such good condition, it looked unused! Another source of materials were the streets of Leicester; cooking oil drums, broken bikes, drink cans and much more besides.
Since moving to Somerset 11 yrs ago, it has become increasingly harder to access local scrap yards due to ever tightening health and safety laws, so my focus has switched towards local metal workers; who have been very happy to help out. They have been able to supply scrap pressings and sheet steel which make up much of Rex today.
An idea of the scrap used in my cartoon animals are: some of the pressings are ideal for the ears, teeth, tongue and signs; tubing is sometimes available and is used for the body; metal coat hangers, spent sparklers and other wire are used for producing tails and fingers. As yet I haven't found anything to replace the welding rod I use for the legs and arms.....
|What's left from a sheet of steel once it's been pressed is also useful (to me); there is enough spare for me to make some of my larger sculptures such as clocks and display stands. A lot of smaller accessories like the skis and books Rex holds are made from these sheets too. Other metals collected include copper sheet, useful for Rex's violin, copper pipes, used for the pillow in the sardine bed sculpture and toilet in the range of WC sculptures. Suffice to say the list is endless. I have about 140 designs, most have scrap that has been personalised to fit each specific design. In the majority of sculptures you wouldn't be able to tell what's recycled and what's not.
As well as the recycling above, I use 95% of my own waste. Welding all the cut up bits together, I can use it like welding rod, melting it down as I'm making the head, shoulders and feet. It is a rare occasion when I have to visit the scrap yard to deposit metal!
As my designs have progressed over the last 17 years, my business ethos has remained unchanged. Recycling remains at the heart of every Rex produced and I recon Rex can be proud of his carbon footprint!
Having my business based from home is ideal. I make, on average, two trips a week in the car which are usually local. My main suppliers are in walking distance, as is the Post Office (used several times a week sending out mail orders) and the bank. The only time I have to do some serious mileage is when I'm on sales trips, looking for new galleries and shops (twice a year).