When Steve Bewley sees old computer parts or a worn brake rotor, he doesn’t see junk – he sees potential.
Bewley’s Arroyo Grande Company, Rerun Products, creates lighting and other home accents from reclaimed materials such as old auto parts, broken guitar strings, scrap metal, and old wood. Each piece is made from around 80 percent recycled materials.
His fascination with repurposing began as a child.
“I’d take trips to the dump with my dad and think, wow why did they throw all this stuff away,” he said. “My dad’s a tinkerer, my mother’s an artist.”
Bewley, who previously was a car graphic artist, began the business with his parents about 10 years ago. Their first creation was a sleek, modern lamp made from an aluminum baseball bat and a handmade paper shade that his mother crafted. He still offers a similar piece today.
His parents have since retired, but he continues to find inspiration at salvage yards, in dumpsters and from thrift store castoffs. As his fame spread, people began bringing odds and ends to his shop. One hopeful individual even dragged a toilet to his front door.
While most people couldn’t imagine making something useful, let alone beautiful from these random items, Bewley has a unique vision.
“Everything we use has no real value by itself,” he said. “To me, they’re components that can be resurfaced, repainted, rearranged to make a pleasing piece of furniture.”
Most of Bewley’s pieces are contemporary in style. His strikingly simple Modern collection features bases made from polished steel brake rotors, computer hard discs and piping. The handmade paper shade is made from banana leaves and vegetable-based dyes. His Bat Lamp has an Asian flair and is made from a propane tank bottom and heating coil, with pulls fashioned out of guitar strings and old pennies.
Bewley’s creations have found their way into the homes of celebrities like Priscilla Presley, Joe Walsh, and Herb Alpert. He was featured on HGTV and the Sundance Channel. He currently sells pieces in five local galleries, as well as shops as far away as Chicago.
Unlike artists who repurpose one-of-a-kind materials, never to replicate the finished piece again, Bewley works with materials that are abundant. His website offers more than a dozen designs of floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces that can be reproduced almost without limit. Customers can choose their shade color and, in some cases, the size of the piece.
He also welcomes custom orders. He created a custom piece for SLO Down Pub in Arroyo Grande made of 32 wine bottles that were cut, sandblasted and arranged into a chandelier. Just recently, he created a custom chandelier for a Chicago client -- a four-by-two foot rendition of Noah’s Ark made of recycled steel and handmade paper which, when illuminated, reveals animal silhouettes.
No matter how grandiose the project, the message Bewley hopes to project through his work is simple.
“We feel we always need to have the latest and greatest things,” he said. “There’s so much you can do with what you already have instead of always running out and buying something new.”
Contact Rerun Productions by calling 489-5152 or by visiting www.rerunproductions.com.