The View 38002 September 2014 | Page 2 theview theview Page 2 September 2014 From Trash to Treasure: Jeremy Elkins’ Artistic Creations Story and Photos by Terry Louderback The “Mastodon” features several different faux leathers (ostrich and standard) with real leather used on the front of the arms. The trim is embossed leather (to look like alligator). There are approximately 1100 nailheads. Below right: before and after photos of the “Heaven and Hell” chairs Elkins created for friends in 2011. When you talk to Jeremy Elkins, you realize that he is a man of many interests— artist, musician , animal lover, Civil War reinactor, photographer. “I’m always learning,” Elkins said. With 18 years of experience as a professional upholsterer, Elkins continually tries add to his skills. “It’s fun to be challenged, and it’s even more rewarding to succeed.” Elkins knew that he didn’t want to work retail: “I had long hair, down to my waist. I’ve always been the artistic and rebellious type,” he laughs. “So six months into a job I’d walk off because someone made me mad or I just didn’t want to do it anymore.” When his company wanted another upholsterer, Elkins was “thrown into it” he says. “An old-school guy in Millington showed me the ropes,” he adds, but many techniques he learned through experience. Elkins had taken woodshop in high school, and his father was a builder and contractor, but ultimately his situation was pass/fail. “And I like pass,” he added. When Elkins began working for wholesaler Wilkinson Enterprises in January 1997, his new employer asked him if he could paint, could build things, and knew how to sew. A special new feature for our Facebook fans: Monthly contests for you to win fabulous prizes. Like “TheView38002” on Facebook and get ready to win. Arlington Publishing LLC PO Box 863, Arlington, TN 38002 Twitter: @TheView38002 Who We Are: The View 38002 is Arlington and Lakeland’s free community newspaper, published monthly by Arlington Publishing LLC with a distribution of 11,500 copies Mission: To inform, educate, and connect the residents of Arlington, Lakeland, and unincorporated Northeast Shelby County. Questions about news content can be directed to Editorial Director Terry Louderback at (901) 4519213 or [email protected] Questions about advertising and distribution can be directed to Advertising Director Iggy Collazo at (901) 848-4092 or [email protected]. The View 38002 believes in correcting its mistakes. If you believe there is an error in advertising or news content, please contact us. The View 38002 welcomes reader submissions of photos, calendar items, feature articles, news briefs and Letters to the Editor. Items can be submitted by mail, fax, email or Facebook post. Publication of submissions is not guaranteed. 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His pieces have appeared on the pages of At Home Lo uisiana, At Ho me Tennessee, and Southern Living. Working with interior designers, he has built custom pieces for Peyton Manning and Joe and Robin Theisman. At work, Elkins produces mainly headboards, ottomans, and chairs, and may repeat the same basic design hundreds of times. About eight years ago, Elkins began designing what he calls his “artistic pieces.” Inspired by some of his artistic friends, he said that he tries to make his ideas come to life. For his artistic work, Elkins pledges to never repeat a design. “They told me, ‘Think outside of Memphis, and think inside of yourself. What do you want to do?’ They gave me some stuff and said ‘go with it.’” Then some of the designers saw some of his new work. Elkins laughs “They let me off my leash— they opened the cage up” and began asking him to create artistic pieces for clients. Many of the materials for his pieces are destined for from dumpsters and landfills; “they’re wingback chairs that have seen better days, scraps of lumber that are just not usable and I’ll do something with that. Elkins described his artistic pieces as probably 85% “green.” The “Mastodon” chair featured here was sitting by the roadside, Elkins admitted. As long as it passes the “sniff test” and is basically structurally sound, Elkins will work with it. “These pieces are for more eclectic minds,” Elkins said. “If you don’t want traditional, you want something one-of-a-kind, that’s me.” HGTV and DIY network have increased the market for more unusual pieces and unique use of materials. Elkins estimates that an original ottoman takes him about a day to complete. More complex pieces such as the “Mastodon” can take him s e v e r a l we e k s fr o m inspiration to reality. Elkins wants to donate one piece each year to a charity. Because he doesn’t have a lot of money, he sees this as his way to give back. He estimates that one of his pieces could sell for between $800-1500 dollars.