Zebra stripe duct tape, hub caps, crab pots and old sardine cans might seem unlikely materials for home decor, but for Chelsea Fischer, of Blaine, they are as good as gold.
“A lot of things people think are ugly, I think are beautiful so I do a lot of recycling that way,” she said. “The kids really love it, too. We don’t watch a lot of TV because we’re always busy making things together.”
In fact, her unusual artwork has earned her a bit of a reputation – family members regularly bring by any old free furniture they find lying on the side of the road, and Christmas gifts often consist of unusual nuts and bolts as well as driftwood, bouys and old fishing nets that have washed ashore on local beaches.
Fischer uses these materials to create furniture for her home from crab pot beds for her children, ages 5 and 9, to zebra-striped duct tape-covered tables to a “driftwood” tree she is currently working on.
“I never throw anything away,” she said.
A broken coffee table can be easily painted and turned into a shelf. An old high school gym locker Fischer bought for $5 at a yard sale is painted and turned into a TV stand and storage cabinet for the kids’ video games and controllers.
Residents along Sweet Road, however, might know of Fischer from her front lawn art installment centerpiece “Luscious Lizzy,” a manequin made from chicken wire and styrofoam bouys who dons wigs and different outfits with the changing seasons.
“I’ve heard she’s popular around town,” Fischer said. “People have told my family they would be having a bad day and then drove by Lizzy and started laughing. They always want to know when she’s going to get a new outfit.”
Fischer said “Lizzy” is currently modeling a vintage surfboard that was a high school graduation present from her uncle “Richie” (Richard) Sturgill, of Blaine.
Fischer grew up crabbing with her family and worked as an aluminum operator at Intalco for several years. She currently works with her aunt Sherri operating four booths at the “Two Bits and More” flea market in Arlington.
She is also working on a table made of heart-shaped rocks she found on the beach near Cherry Point.
“My kids will tell you if I’m not at home I’m at Cherry Point or at Starbuck’s,” she said. “All the bouys and driftwood I’ve found over the last five years, I’ve found at Cherry Point.”
Although she said she has been into crafting for much of her life, she began devoting more time to her art when her son Paxton, 5, said he wanted a bed made out of crab pots. Her son Chase, 9, soon wanted one of his own, as did their friends and their friends’ friends.
“I don’t know where he got the idea,” she said. “But he loves to go crabbing with his father, Joe, and now he loves his crab pot bed.”
Fischer said she plans to open a store, “Eye Candy,” on Birch Bay-Lynden Road in April. The store will feature furniture and art with a “vintage, retro kind of style,” she said.