Enriching lives through art and craft

Arrowmont Connections: New Work by Peter Dellert

Arrowmont instructor and friend, Peter Dellert, creates sculptures from “recycled stuff,” collecting items over a number of years to create larger-than-life pieces.
In 2012, he created a sculpture from discarded and found automotive catalytic converter covers, which had fallen off cars onto the road. Last year, he created a second sculpture using more automotive detritus, exhibited at Art in the Park, Worcester, MA. Next month, the piece will be part of the outdoor exhibit, Downeast Sculpture Exhibition in Greenville, NC through 2023.
Here is the speech he gave to introduce the new piece for Art in the Park in summer 2021.


Hello.  This is Peter Dellert.  I am the artist who created Inheritance II  near which you are standing. It was made in my studio in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I am a full time artist and sculptor and have exhibited here in Worcester many times in the past. The piece before you is the second iteration of the idea to build a sculpture from found, recycled catalytic converter covers. It has a steel armature or internal structure to which the metal bits, the catalytic converter covers or heat shields, are riveted.  It is 96” tall, and about 36” wide by 30” deep, but bends and dips as it rises in several gentle curves.

Inheritance II is made entirely from cast-off automobile catalytic converter covers or heat shields. Each one has dropped off from the underside of a car or truck and fallen on the roadside. Over the last decade or more, I have collected them. I then flattened them and riveted them to a pre-made steel armature.

The form is similar to an open pod or flower, similar in this regard to many of the biomorphic shapes I have made in the past. OR it could be viewed as a smokestack or a chimney.  Viewed as a flower or pod, the form is in sharp contrast to the industrial material it wears as a skin. The form is natural, the skin is manmade. The pieces of red and colored plastic become eyes as the piece collects light and emits it through these colored apertures.

But larger issues are at play here. We are a culture of consumers using and discarding manmade products every day. The piece asks us to take another look at what we have “cast off.” Viewed futuristically, Inheritance II can be seen as what might be assembled by someone or some thing trying to reconstruct the human past after the apocalypse.

Hopefully we will head the warnings being presented to us daily. Climate change is upon us. It is time to promote and purchase electric cars, solar collectors, wind generators, carbon taxing and all kinds of green energy in order to bring the planet back into stasis.

Imagine “Wall-E” of Disney/Pixar fame collecting all these catalytic converters.

What would he do with them?  What would he think about them, about this sculpture?

Could he even imagine all the millions of cars that each had one and then sloughed them off on the roadside.

I hope viewing my sculpture makes you think about climate change, and about oil/ car culture, and about your daily and yearly carbon footprint.

Time to start biking to school or to work.  Time to plant a garden or a tree or two.  Time to recycle.  Time to stop using single use plastic water bottles.  We can all do our part to help the planet heal.

And if not, perhaps this is what will emerge from the remains of our civilization when we are long gone.


Peter DellertPeter Dellert returns to Arrowmont June 5 – 12, 2022, for National Workshop, ReCycle, ReGenerate, ReNew: Sculpture with Recycled Materials.

Click here to learn more about Peter on his Arrowmont Connections profile.

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