A fire engine wheel repurposed into a wine rack.
M-C Lamarre’s latest work is popping off the walls at Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Her exhibit, “FUNctional Art,” is entirely made from repurposed materials — the majority of which came from Vineyard dumps and yard sales. The word “trash” is not in her vocabulary.
“There is so much out there that can be used,” Ms. Lamarre said in an interview with The Times. “It just has to be looked at in a different way.” She turns shingles from torn-down homes into journals, old records into clocks, a fire engine wheel into a wine rack, and old roller skates into bookends.
“It started when I was furnishing my apartment, and noticing what we needed,” she said. “For example, I needed a hamper, so I made one out of a mailbox. Everything serves a purpose.”
A lot of the repurposed work is a nod to her past. She was bit by the wanderlust bug, and as a tour manager of a traveling art show, Ms. Lamarre spent a lot of time on the road. She traveled the country and collected maps, many of which you can find in her show, repurposed as tissue boxes, picture frames, or window shades.
When asked whether she had a favorite piece, she answered without hesitation, “They’re all my favorites.”
Ms. Lamarre reflected on fond memories while she went through her exhibit last week, pointing out which friend gave her what, the condition it was in, and the process of complete renovation. Everything has a story, and she’s connected to her work in a special way. “Somebody had this at some point, and that just brings about a good energy,” she said.
Ropes repurposed into wall decor are from a friend and an old sailor. Denim jeans repurposed into handy supply holders come from her paint pants and her husband’s old work pants. Ms. Lamarre’s husband is a builder on-Island.
While on the road, Ms. Lamarre noticed that Red Sox fans are everywhere. This inspired her to paint Green Monster murals on home walls or in backyards. There are 189 of them spread across the U.S., and one in Canada. She’s 10 shy of hitting 200 — her ultimate goal.
Between repurposing art and painting Green Monsters, Ms. Lamarre frequently buzzes on and off-Island. When she hits 200 murals, she said, she’s thinking about retiring the Green Monster project to focus more on her repurposed work.
Ms. Lamarre can take those old boxes filled with meaningful things that you can’t imagine getting rid of and turn them into something that can sit on your coffee table or hang on your wall, where it can be appreciated every day. She creates with the long-term picture in mind. “I’m a little clumsy and messy, so all my work was made with that in mind. It’s all meant to be touched and handled.”
“You are one creative lady,” a gallery visitor said to Ms. Lamarre on her way out the door. Safe to say she probably hears that a lot.
M-C Lamarre’s exhibit, “FUNctional Art,” will be on exhibit at Cousen Rose Gallery on Circuit Avenue, in Oak Bluffs throughout the summer. Visit cousenrose.com or call 508-693-6656.