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Turning everyday objects into art

They met each other through an online scrapbooking site, and Sandy Dovre and Terry Kempfert realized they had something in common — creating unique design pieces

February 26, 2011
By Cindy Votruba

Sandy Dovre of rural Cottonwood and Terry Kempfert of Hutchinson decided to put their minds together and come up with one-of-a-kind creations.

Together, the duo does altered art prints, sculpture, cards, books and uncommon everyday objects they upcycle.

Dovre said her artistic side came out when she became a stay-at-home mom and started making presents.

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"For probably 10 to 15 years I've been doing chairs as graduation gifts for nieces and nephews and friends," Dovre said.

The two met each other through Heritage Makers, an online digital scrapbooking site, where they are both consultants.

Dovre said she and Kempfert put their art on hold to concentrate on Heritage Makers.

"We both said 'why aren't we doing this? why aren't we painting things?" Dovre said. "We both encouraged each other to start painting and creating."

"Once we got to know each other, we both thought 'oh, we found someone who understands,'" Kempfert said.

The two incorporate what they learned with Heritage Makers into their hands-on projects.

"We're using our art form with the digital system, using it in the upcycled (items)," Dovre said. "It's kind of a hybrid art."

It also turns out that both Dovre and Kempfert like to turn old chairs into pieces of art by painting them as well as other projects. Last year, she and Kempfert started Defying Gravity Design.

"We're taking found things and old things and making something new," Dovre said.

Kempfert said they talk about their projects.

"I think we feed off of each other,"?Kempfert said. She said that she and Dovre may end up making totally different items, but use a lot of the same materials.

"Our looks are distinctive," Kempfert said.

Kempfert said her work typically incorporates words as she does calligraphy and other lettering.

"I've always been a word person,"?Kempfert said. She also does etching on glassware.

Kempfert said she and Dovre will hit the thrift shops and craft stores together, scrounging for items that they will use in a "non-traditional" way.

"Mostly I like rummaging through thrift shops," Dovre said.

Dovre said she makes her pieces in her studio, which is in a converted hayloft in an old barn on her and her husband's property.

Kempfert creates more of the signs they feature in the items they bring to sell at different stores, Dovre said. Several of their designs are at Blue Green in Marshall.

One of the items Dovre likes to create is storybook birdhouses. She'll take the roof off a birdhouse she finds and replaces it with a book she picks up at an antique store.

"I use the pages to do the sides of the birdhouse," Dovre said.

Dovre said she also has a line of free-standing hearts with the sayings "Forever in love" or "Live, laugh, love."

Dovre said she turns to the Internet to find new project ideas.

"It's irony to see what other people are doing," Dovre said of upcycled art. "It's a growing trend."



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