From scrap to art

November 2018

Elaina Roberts of Hamata Creations is not your typical artist. While many artists may use paint brushes and canvas, clay and a potter’s wheel, or pencil and paper to create, Roberts uses materials and tools usually found in a mechanics shop: metal and plasma cutters, blow torches, and grinders.

A bit different you may agree.

Using pieces of metal and aluminum, Roberts transforms—what would normally be destined for scrap— into beautiful pieces of art. And for those who have visited Roberts’ booths at the Artisans Northwest and December Dreams Christmas shows you’ll agree with the use of such words like “unique” and “captivating” and simply, “WOW” to describe her creations.

And how did it all begin, you may ask?

“It was all an accident, really,” Roberts admits. One day, while using a plasma cutter to do a repair job, her creative side took hold and she decided to try cutting a leaf from the leftover metal. Her mother encouraged her to make more and when the two pieces she created were placed in a show where she sold handcrafted earrings, they sold immediately. She knew she had hit on something new. “It just took off from there,” she says.

The creations developed and new techniques were tested and honed to become what they are today.

As a mechanical engineer Roberts admits that she needed to feed the artistic side of her to relieve the stress from her jobs. It was a natural progression to see her creations develop and new techniques tested and honed as her creativity and her skills matured.

Layers were added to her pieces, heat treating and colouring were applied, and multiple types of metals were used, transforming her works into majestic 3D pieces of art.

“My favourite piece I’ve created so far is a giant waterfall that stands over 7 feet tall and is about 5 feet wide. It’s comprised of 43 pieces of metal and weighs over 80 lbs,” she says with a more than a twinkle in her eye. It sold at the Artisans Northwest show in no time.

And then it took over. Fantastical dragons, 3D, 8-foot trees made of aluminum and stainless steel, and fall coloured maple leaves took shape and filled her booth. Several businesses and offices approached her and she began to see consignment after consignment come to her door.

Being environmentally conscious, Roberts takes pride in the fact that 95% of the metal she uses is recycled. Also, the electricity for the shop is generated using 100% bio diesel, which her father produces and burns in two diesel generators. The heat from the generators is also reclaimed to provide a portion of the shop heating. She admits her shop out near Marks Township smells a little like a mechanics shop with a strong hint of french fries.

When asked if she saw any form of expansion in her business, Roberts says no, not so much the physical expansion, but more the mental. She wants to maintain that creative balance in her life and keep her metal art strictly as a hobby, but she wants to continue trying new things. Right now, she’s working on using old saw blades and other pieces of old iron and learning about the challenges in treating metals so they don’t rust.

One thing that will continue to remain constant in Roberts’ art is her use of nature as her inspiration. “I’m a country girl,” she says proudly. “I grew up in the country and spend a great deal of time outdoors, in the bush, on the water, enjoying what nature has to offer.”

It’s a unique combination, metal and nature, steel and trees, but in Roberts’ hands it does very well.

To learn more about Roberts go to her website at or visit her booth at the Rotary December Dreams Show Dec. 1 and 2 at the CLE Coliseum.

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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