The 17 acre lot of land where Turtlebay Iron & Wood Works was conceived was used as a landfill for years circa 1970. When you walk to the small lake at the back of the property, every step you take you can hear glass breaking beneath your feet. Boots with a thick sole are required so the rusted metal scraps don’t puncture through your shoe. The lake is home to several breeding pairs of Blue Heron and a sanctuary for water snakes, turtles, and several species of song bird.
In the spring before the grass grows too tall, Joe Calkins spends a month cleaning up the buried trash throughout the property and along the shore of the lake. Broken glass and rusted, jagged metal are painstakingly unearthed and moved into either a recycling bin or an “inspiration pile”. This is what Joe uses to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Crows made from old metal banding, fish made from rusted cookie sheets, and birds made from spoons and knives long forgotten.
"When I’m outside cleaning up the trash on the property, ideas and inspiration just pour in. I see an old rusty lamp base and I just know it’s supposed to be a sunflower"
Along with upcycled art, Joe Calkins has a knack for finding heirloom and vintage furniture pieces to sell.
"It is really difficult to find a quality piece of furniture in a store nowadays, furniture just isn't made like it used to be."
From estate sales and private collections, Joe hand selects unique and interesting pieces of furniture made from solid wood, and almost always antique or vintage.