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Arts & Culture

One Man’s Trash is Damien Teitelbaum’s Canvas

Damien Teitelbaum Coffee Table

An ethic of sustainable manufacturing drives Damien Teitelbaum’s durable designs.

Damien Teitelbaum Coffee Table
Steel-legged coffee table topped with juniper.

As the adage goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” For local metal artist Damien Teitelbaum, it only takes a trip to the local scrap yard to find his latest inspiration.

Teitelbaum is the mind and hands behind Bent Metal Works, a one-man studio that uses metal as the basis for functional yet sustainable pieces that range from robots (R2-D2 makes a great a wedding gift!) to wine racks. Teitelbaum often merges wood and glass for finished pieces that have a rugged industrial elegance.

If you venture around downtown long enough, you’ll discover multiple examples of his projects consisting of upcycled bike racks that Teitelbaum fused out of old car parts. Walk into a local furniture store and you’re just as likely to see a steel-legged coffee table topped with an ancient juniper slab.

Damien Teitelbaum
Damien Teitelbaum

“I enjoy welding and how it’s somewhat forgiving,” Teitelbaum said. “It’s gratifying to take metal and build things that are both functional and fashionable.”

Bent Metal Works found its niche in the process of “upcycling” metals into functional everyday items. Rather than purchase new materials to turn into amazing artwork, Teitelbaum follows the four “R’s” of sustainability: reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. For Bent Metal Works that means having the least amount of impact on the planet while still creating something exceptional.

Bent Metal Works does most of its manufacturing at the local DIY Cave, a co-workshop studio on Bend’s eastside in the old Pakit Liquidators space off 9th Street. Here, professional and amateur crafts people, mechanics, designers and artists come together under one roof to turn ideas into reality in an atmosphere that fosters collaboration.

Teitelbaum frequently bounces back and forth from the metalwork to woodworking spaces while sharing concepts and strategies with other artisans. He said that DIY Cave’s access to such a wide variety of resources is essential when working across multiple mediums.

“Everyone at the DIY Cave is reading the same book,” Teitelbaum said. “But everyone here is just reading a different chapter.”

In the end, it’s all about community, said Teitelbaum. Whether it be at the DIY Cave or at the homes of his clients and friends, Bent Metal Works is all about creating something that lasts and doing it together.

“I’ve found that the people of Bend can really appreciate finding someone local to design their tables or furniture,” he said. “It makes me happy when, months down the road, people send me photos of the habitats where my furniture ends up.”

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