Jordan Sprigg makes a living out of turning scrap metal, found on the family farm, into amazing animal sculptures.
Story Jill Griffiths
After studying psychology at university, Jordan Sprigg decided to return to the family farm and give himself a year tinkering in the workshop to see if there was any possibility of making a living out of creating sculptures from old bits of rusty metal. Five years on, he’s still tinkering and is building himself an artistic reputation to stand alongside his stunning sculptures.
Jordan grew up on a typical family farm in Narembeen, in the Western Australian Wheatbelt. He headed off to Perth to attend Wesley College for his high school years and it was there that he discovered a joy in working with metal and wood. “In Year 11 at school I built a dragon out of metal,” Jordan says. “At that stage I didn’t think I could make a living from it.”
Wesley College obviously saw some talent in him though, and a few years later, while Jordan was at university, the college commissioned him to build a couple of metal kangaroos for the boarding house. That project went well and started Jordan thinking that maybe he could do something with this idea, so he kept tinkering.
“I was just drawn to scrap metal,” he says. “We had a lot of scrap metal lying around the farm and I just started making stuff out of that. I’m drawn to recycled materials because of the story behind it. The metal could have been sitting on a scrap heap for 50 years. Before that, it may have been in a tool that cleared the land. I like the sentimentality of that.”
Jordan leaves all his pieces rusty and the red-burnished look is a strong characteristic of his work. “Painting the pieces would be a waste,” he says. “It would waste the 50 to 70 years of rust that has built up and the history that goes with it.”
He uses the scrap as it is, so the components remain recognisable. “I like it when an old farmer or a mechanic can recognise the tools – old crescents, hammers, gears and chains,” he says. “When I pick stuff up, I don’t know which piece will go where. I don’t see anything. I just collect a lot of stuff and organise it into heaps.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #120
Outback Magazine: August/September 2018