Sculptor Theo Koning sees treasure everywhere. His garden studio is bursting with boxes and containers of useful junk which he collates into simple stories and found-object artworks. The day I visited every surface held a collection of thoughts; neat arrangements of works in progress; or fabulous shapes, textures and patinas for future projects. You could honestly spend all day here and still miss plenty of hidden corners.
Theo says the inspiration for his artworks originally came from old tools. He found axes or rakes mended with scraps of metal or wire, with pipe handles or handmade grips, from a time when tools were valuable and ‘making do’ was part of life. He tries to capture that resourcefulness in his own work, combining and extending the life of found objects in upcycled sculptures and decorative vignettes.
The Koning’s studio and garden are also crafted from recycled materials. The two storey loft studio sits peacefully amongst the trees at the back of their Fremantle home and is a small triumph of recycled bricks, reconfigured factory windows, recycled flooring and roadside furniture finds. The leafy balcony overlooks the old pirate cubby house, built from scraps when the children were young. Decorative birdbaths are handmade from broken bits of render. Recycled pavers and refurbished garden furniture add serene garden rooms, and cheeky little creations peek out from every corner.
This junk-yard, low cost back yard has evolved over several decades into a serene space for contemplation and creativity. My photos can’t really do it justice but I hope you gain some inspiration from hundreds of saved materials used with a splash of imagination.
Find more of Theo Koning’s work at Turner Galleries in Perth.