Ellen Sall: Finders Keepers

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Philadelphia artist Ellen Sall is a collector of ordinary, common objects. Whether salvaged from trash or a flea market discovery, Sall collects whatever she sees as visually appealing from plates, utensils, teacups, coffee pots, and strainers to baubles, beads, lamp sockets, and vintage glass. With a studio stocked full, she combines her eclectic finds and transforms them into functional lamps and sculpture.
 
Some of Sall’s lamps are reminiscent of totem poles where the varying elements are stacked one upon the other like iconic symbols of our culture. Others are more animated, where sculpted wires emulate pouring coffee. In either, there is always a sense of whimsy to see recognizable objects re-used in unexpected ways. Sall has said that she “takes great pleasure in reclaiming discarded objects or pieces of objects and re-using them to create something that makes people smile.”
 
Ellen Sall is also a member of the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia who are known for using trash and recyclable materials to create their art. In a 2012 Mayoral Tribute to the organization, it states, “The Dumpster Divers tap unused and under-utilized resources to create art, promote recycling, develop new techniques for using discarded materials, and encourage an open mind when considering the meaning of beauty and art.”
 
Sall and her fellow Dumpster Divers see the aesthetic potential of what others deem as trash, giving new life to old, unwanted objects. 
 
 
 
  Susan Beard Design