"One man's trash is another man's treasure" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"One man's trash is another man's treasure"

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In this edition of Look Around Mississippi, we take a trip to neighboring Alabama.

Jim Bird who lives about 10 miles north of Demopolis, Alabama has been making hay bale creations out along the Highway for 15 years or so.

And has even branched into metal art.

His crowning accomplishment, "The Tin Man," was damaged by a recent storm, and seems to need a trip back to 'Oz'.

Poor tin man.

In the story, "The Wizard of Oz", the Wizard gave him a heart.

Well, Jim Bird's tin man's HEART is secure.

But his creation did what lots of us are apt to do in similar dire circumstances.

He's lost his head.

That happened when straight-line winds breezed through the pasture out by the highway a few weeks ago where the Tin Man, and numerous other fanciful creations from Jim's scrap pile are displayed for passers-by to admire.

But not to fear, just like the scarecrow's strewn straw, all the parts have been gathered up and put back together.

Jim's just waiting to get a little help to put the head back on top.

Jim Bird: The tin man's got a thousand gallon oil tank and it's got 30 gallon drums for arms and a garbage can for hands and 5 gallon buckets for legs and the feet are two tubs turned upside down.

Walt: This is Jim Bird's studio, as he calls it, where he creates his creations. Welding equipment and grinders and cutting torches. And he calls his back pasture his warehouse, where there are mounds and heaps and tons of what you and I might misconstrue as trash. But no more than Michelangelo's marble quarries were mere gravel pits, this is where folk art starts. Well, Jim found OUT it was folk art one day.

Jim: Folks out of Birmingham, Birmingham Southern had gone to New Orleans to look at some folk art and they were back through here and I was coming in and a guy had these students and he was showing them and I asked him, What IS folk art? And he said it's art when you try to do art and you don't know what the hell you're doing. (Laugh) And I said, Well that's me.

Walt: Jim's always up to something: taking castaways and re-arraigning them and putting them together as something else and putting it out for people to see. You've heard the old saying one man's trash is another man's treasure. Well, to Jim it's ART! And he had a professor tell him so, so it must be true.

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