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Ham Lake Artist Turns River Trash Into Art At MN State Fair

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(credit: MN State Fair)

(credit: MN State Fair)

(credit: CBS) Al Schoch
Al Schoch is in his fourth decade of broadcasting and journalism. Tha...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)Artist Tristan Kyrsta of Ham Lake had never before crafted a sculpture of junk pulled from Minnesota waterways. But she readily accepted the challenge of turning trash into treasure, drawing from experiences when she was a little girl.

“I grew up living out of my backyard, digging in the dirt and making a real mess of things,” she said. “I say the more yuck, the better.”

There’s plenty of yuck of what turned into the Department of Natural Resource’s 21st annual Adopt-A-River junk sculpture at the Minnesota State Fair. Kyrsta knew the kind of stuff thrown into state rivers would dictate what she would make.

“If we don’t find enough materials that would help solidify a certain concept, you’ve got to be willing to change and go in a different direction,” Kyrsta said.

Ham Lake Artist Turns Trash Into Art At MN State Fair

minnesota state fair trash sculpture Ham Lake Artist Turns River Trash Into Art At MN State Fair

Some of the junk found early in the process got Kyrsta thinking about making a 12-foot-tall rabbit.

“We found some plastic, white troughs down at Belle Plaine. I saw those as being the torso of the rabbit,” she said. “And then housing siding, which I envisioned seeing as the ears.”

Throw in shopping cart wheels for eyes, a couple of tires for the body and an old rake for legs and the result is what’s now called Lepus Ex Apparatus, which means Rabbit From Machine.

The sculpture is at the DNR building as a tribute to more than 97,000 volunteers who removed more than 6.4 million pounds of junk from Minnesota waterways since 1989.

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