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Portsmouth, RI: The Tin Can Man

Portsmouth, RI: The Tin Can Man
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Along the way, Bill made most of the tools that he uses for this unique craft. A friend gave him some special scissors that the phone company uses to cut aluminum. For the minuscule curlicues, he has small rods that he wraps the shavings around. To get the effects that he wants, putting treads on the tires and patterns on rugs, he has had to improvise, using small metal blades and long slender bars, whatever works best.

Bill does not think of himself as an artist. In fact, he chuckles at the very idea. When people say his work is folk art, he doesn’t understand what the term means. But he knows what he loves.

“You know, I can do anything with aluminum. I can’t tell you why. I just can. I just love to work with it. You know what I love best about this? I come down here and I don’t know what I’m going to make. I start working and it just comes to me and pretty soon, I’ve got something. When I get finished, I look at it and I say, ‘I made that out of nothing.’ I didn’t have any plans, I just used the stuff that I have here, you know what I mean? I get a big kick out of that. It’s something out of nothing; something made out of trash. Yeah, I like that.”

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