Silverware artist upcycles cast-offs to beautiful objects

By Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media

We all know recycling is a way to help reduce waste going into our landfills. But for some creative people, it can be a form of art.

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Courtesy photo

Christine Yonker upcycles vintage silverware, turning it into something completely different and beautiful. She started out working more with glass, but in time found metal was a better material to suit her artistic goals.

“I’ve always loved vintage, so moving from the glass to the silverware seemed right for us and it really took off,” says Yonker, of Owosso. “There is more creative expression for me in creating the pieces out of silverware.”

Through the company A Blend of Now & Then, a joint effort with her husband, Rick, she creates wind chimes, jewelry, wall hooks mounted on found wood and garden stakes. He does the cutting, bending and other metalwork, while she makes the designs, adds beads and does the assembly.

The silverware Yonker uses in her creations is vintage silver plate — and sometimes sterling silver — between 60 and 120 years old.

Yonker has been doing art shows for 20 years, and on Aug. 26, she will have her works in Northfield Hills Art on the Lake.

“I like to find shows that are a destination for people,” Yonker says. “Foot traffic is a must for any show to be a success. Most shows in the recent years have less and less attendance — however, with this show that isn’t the case, we notice this seems to have more attendance each year, which is good for everyone.”

The outdoor show — the only one of its kind in Troy — is in its 44th year, and will feature more than 100 award-winning artists of all media, food vendors and a children’s booth with entertainment and crafts.

Yonker enjoys traveling to shows away from her home turf and says going to shows like Art on the Lake is an adventure, seeing somewhere different and bringing her works to a new audience.

“We like the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and naturally make money,” Yonker says. “There is the thrill I get when people stand in my booth and just are at awe over what we make. It is fun.”

• If You go: Art on the Lake runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, at Northfield Hills on Long Lake Road, between Crooks and Coolidge in Troy. Parking is free on the site. Visit artonthelake.com/index.html.

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