Pittsburgh, PA – Lawrenceville master carpenter and salvage artist David Calfo is doing something that no other artist is at tomorrow’s Arbor Aid 2011 fundraiser – making art out of the historic (and recently demolished) 158-year-old McBride Log House. Over 40 artists are submitting to the show, which benefits Tree Pittsburgh, and all submissions must be made out of reclaimed wood.
Formerly located at 38th and Charlotte Street in Lawrenceville, The McBride House was purchased privately after several failed attempts by the Lawrenceville Historical Society to raise the funds necessary to restore the famous building. Back in July, the owner began demolishing the building, which is where Calfo stepped in. Having heard about the demolition, he approached the owner about creating artwork from some of the logs.
“This wood has seen three centuries, so my final creations are almost like art within art.” Calfo said. “If they weren’t ‘saved’ by me, they might be sitting in a landfill. That’s what drives me to create unique pieces. You can be cookie cutter, or build something out of cookie cutters — I prefer the latter.”
Two of his three submissions, “Soul Searcher” and “The Seeker” are created from wood salvaged from the McBride House. Calfo’s third submission, the “Hunky Rail Gang,” was created from wood molds that were originally used in the making of sand casted steel products, dating back to 1924. They were salvaged from a mill in Beaver Falls, PA that was to be demolished two days later. He dedicates the piece to his great grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncles who all worked together at the Homestead Works. They were known as the “Hunky Rail Gang.”
David Calfo is a salvage artist, fourth generation Hungarian and Pittsburgh native who owns, operates and works out of the DNA Blue Collar Gallery in Lawrenceville. He works almost exclusively with salvaged materials, and will show his art at the Arbor Aid exhibit on October 28th. Calfo is also an avid Twitter enthusiast (@DaveCalfo) with more than two thousand followers.