Oregon Man Turns Discarded Propane Tanks into Art

Tim Foertsch with a few of his creations. (image: Lauren Gold/The Gresham Outlook)

There comes a time in every propane tank’s life when they’ve hit the end of the road and it’s time to head to that great big barbeque grill in the sky. Retiring a beloved tank can be a sad event, but one Oregon artist is recycling out-of-commission cylinders with all the heart and creativity a taxidermist might use on a beloved, departed pet. Tim Foertsch of Corbett, Oregon, uses old propane tanks, copper piping, and other recycled metal to craft solar lights, panel sculptures, metal flowers, mixed media, and the like, the Gresham Outlook reported today.

Foertsch’s work, along with 90 other artists’, will be featured at the 12th annual Crackedpots art show in Troutsdale on July 19 and 20. The popular event showcases indoor and outdoor art composed of recycled materials. This year’s specific theme materials are wooden pallets, and old pots and pans – to qualify for to win a Crackedpots award, voted on by participants, 80% of each art piece must be made from these materials. The piece receiving the most votes is then displayed somewhere in the community.

“We always think about what’s out there in the waste stream that really needs a lot of attention,” commented event administrator Elaine Loving. “Our whole message, our motto is creative waste reduction and our mission is get people to creatively look at trash and just rethink. We just want to see people doing reused art.”

This will be Foertsch’s fourth Crackedpots show, though he says he’s been working with discarded metals for a decade. Using a plasma cutter to cut through the propane tanks and other scraps before welding his unique designs, Foertsch’s pieces frequently sell out.

“I like to play with light. I try to do something that is both pretty in the day and at night,” he says, noting his appreciation for the sustainability of working with recycled material. “It’s fun because you don’t hurt anything, and you don’t waste anything.”

Who knew crusty old propane tanks could look so good?