‘I used to sit afraid to tarnish a blank canvas but no longer.’

William Stone is a Sculptor who works in UpCycling, where all of his pieces of artwork are formed of reclaimed items remodelled into new items with the aim to reduce landfill.  He is based in Middlesex, UK.

I have always wanted to be a writer but art and mixed media was something I was naturally good at. Not yet to a professional standard but I was always great at sticking things together and fudging it if I didn’t have the right materials, and of course I was never short of ideas.

 

WStone pic 1
William began with painting on canvases over 10 years ago

I took an English and Creative Writing BA degree at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Although I loved Art GcSE and A level Photography, they both drained me so much that I didn’t do any work for many years afterwards.

After my degree ended I began to recover and do art again. I founded a small enterprise making clothes and gifts from salvaged materials.

WStone pic 8
William began with a wide number of products all made from reclaimed items.

I volunteered while at uni for Oxfam books and this led to a lovely job at FARA Books, a one-off independent charity bookshop within a chain of 49 other shops selling clothes. I am an avid reader, averaging around 6 books a week, so this was the perfect job!

During this time I become interested in sustainable living and the waste of our society by reading books such as ‘Waste’ by Tristram Stuart, ‘The Moneyless Man’ by Mark Boyle, ‘Free: Adventure on the margins of a wasteful society’ by Katharine Hibbert and ‘The Man Who Quit Money’ by Mark Sundeen. If you’re interested and don’t know where to begin, I recommend ‘Free’ by Katharine Hibbert.

WStone pic 7
Handmade traditional jointed teddy bears, all made from salvaged scraps.

I took to making clothes from salvaged rags and old clothes, my sewing machine was my mother’s great aunts but it was a singer so still in good form. I named my business ‘William Stone Upcycled Goods’. Now I salvage mostly wood from skips and material to make my own canvases and any clothes and bric-a-brac I take to the charity shop.

“Just start and make a bunch of errors; you will learn something along the way.”

I spent a whole year trying to sell said items on a market stall but it was exhausting and not profitable, with too many people buying online. If it’s on a market stall, second hand or homemade they only want to pay 50p for it. Ugh. It’s hard to stay positive at times.

My advice to myself would be to just start and make a bunch of errors; you will learn something along the way. I used to sit afraid to tarnish a blank canvas but no longer. Starting a business is a bit like that, don’t be afraid to fail, life is full of projects unfinished or that didn’t work out. Nobody will blame you but yourself if you go for a lifetime career that you didn’t really want.

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Now I sell online. Wooden stencilled signs of my own design sell well and are stress free to make. All the wood comes from skips for free and, I like to think takes the weight off landfill. So as you can see I dislike mass production, waste and people’s attitude to art and its true value. I don’t want to work for a big company, I feel the individual can lost get in the system and is often largely underappreciated.

WStone pic 4
Another customised project called Munny.

I am working and earning money as an artist. Not a living of course but it’s a start, and the best thing! There is no pressure! I also now have a shed/workshop in the garden of my parent’s house and I could not have got this far without their support.

I continue to work and make mistakes, mixing the wrong materials and the like, in order to learn. I’m hoping to do an exhibition next year but let’s wait and see.

You can find William Stone on Facebook, Instagram and on his website.  Get in touch to commission artwork.

 

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