WOODSTOCK – For years, A.J. Price has been fascinated with making art out of raw materials.
“I always liked woodworking and stonework,” Price said. “I do some engraving from time to time, and I enjoy materials that are going to last longer than human lifetime. I like stuff that is hard and will last longer than I will.”
Price, 30, operates a workshop out of his parents’ garage in Woodstock, where he works on various welding, woodworking, and stoneworking projects.
“Fifteen years ago, one of my mom’s Christmas gifts to me was half of the garage,” he said. “She gave me a table saw and half of this garage to help me get my shop started.”
Since then, Price has been collecting tools and materials to work on in his shop.
“The woodworking is where I started,” he said. “My cousin is a woodworker, so he would always have walnut scraps and pine scraps to make a trinket out of or a small box. I’ve always liked the smaller crafts.”
Two years ago, Price got a welder and switched over to making art with metallic materials, from railroad spikes and lug nuts to tire irons and shovel heads. Price said he could express himself better than with woodworking.
He gets his materials from auctions, friends and family.
“You never know what you’ll get at auctions,” he said. “If it’s going to the scrapyard, I want to take a look at it first.”
As he continued to fine-tune his craft, Price moved on to bigger projects, including giraffes and wolves. However, he doesn’t do many big pieces.
“If you need to get a forklift to move it, I’m not going to be doing it,” he said.
Price said he figures out what he wants to make based on whatever materials he is working with.
“One piece determines what it wants to be,” he said. “The pieces tell me what they want to be.”
Price said that it takes him anywhere from 45 minutes to four or five hours to get a project done.
“Sometimes you have to walk away from it,” he said. “You get frustrated, or you don’t have the piece you’re looking for, or you just have to go do something else.”
Price said he sells his pieces at Valley Treasures in Woodstock. The prices for his work usually range from $25 to $130. Price said that his art has attracted customers for all of his pieces.
“They’ll strike different people,” he said. “There are things I put down for sale, and I think it will never sell, and those things are surrounded by what I think are better things. I’ll go down there and those things that I didn’t think would sell would be gone. You never know what will strike somebody.”
In the last two years, Price has done close to 100 projects.
“All of a sudden, you’re looking back through your pictures and say 'Man, everything is gone. People have bought this stuff.' It’s kind of cool,” he said.
Price encourages anyone who has an artistic bug to pursue it.
“If you have that desire, just go grab something; it could be wood or a pencil and paper, and start,” he said.