The Rusted Wrench

 The Rusted Wrench and a sterling silver ring inspired by aforementioned wrench

The Rusted Wrench and a sterling silver ring inspired by aforementioned wrench

People who know me know I have been connected to this handle, in one form or another, for a long time. The Rusted Wrench was literally and figuratively plucked from the earth in Watsonville, CA, in 1997. While vacationing with family at their beach house along the Central Coast, close to the strawberry fields and artichoke farms. Steinback country. One morning on his usual sunrise walk, my Uncle chose to walk away from the ocean and instead, turn inward towards the farm fields. That day he brought back a token from his walk. It was a monkey wrench he'd found on the ground that had been weathered into a curved, rusted sculptural artifact. How long had it been there to reach this unique state of being?  5 years? 100 years? It was an anthropological artwork, separate from its original purpose but human all the same, created by time and the elements, made beautiful by its decay and its secrets. There’s a kind of American Gothic flavor and dissonance just in the words - The Rusted Wrench. I started to use it in all ways from email handles to philosophical and artistic inspiration.  Friends started gifting me rusted tools and such they’d find on their own journeys. Once I was given a sign from an auto repair shop by the same name.  It is my favorite thing to  wonder about  - its journey to this Midwestern girl. The qualities of the rusted wrench became a catalyst for much of my art and writing endeavors. I haven’t unlocked all its secrets, but my philosophy and personality identifies strongly with this found object and it has helped me unravel my own artwork. And so I'm compelled to keep chasing its mysteries. 

Compelled by ideas of grotesque beauty, dark humor, hidden meanings and themes of illusion, decay, wonder and knowledge, with an appreciation for a kind of Wabi Sabi and Alchemy, and a love of and desire to perpetuate and enhance The American Myth. Exploring communication and perceptions through art, we are The Rusted Wrench.

 

Stephanie Ellison