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Sun, Aug. 25

Local horse trainer turns scrap into wildlife art<BR>

The old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure," certainly might apply to the treasures Michelle Huber of Chino Valley creates from scrap metal.Michelle Huber works diligently on a deer head, her lastest metal creation.

For the past 15 years, in her spare time, she has been making impressive sculpted animals out of metal.

"When I was in high school my father taught me how to weld so I could help fix the farm equipment. I would have to clean up around our farm, so I would save all the scrap metal I picked up. Being artistic, I started welding the metal into shapes," Michelle said.

Michelle and husband Craig, who are both horse trainers, moved to Chino Valley from Colorado in 2000.

"We picked Chino Valley because we love the high desert area, and we wanted a place that has horse racing year round," she said.

The Hubers have six horses of their own and board three others. They are also members of the Krazy Horse Ranch Polo Club in Black Canyon City.

"We're both such horse lovers, I call it 'equineitis'," she laughed.

Michelle's first sculpture was a horse, which sold for $500.

Since then she has created more than 100 pieces in a variety of animals ranging from deer, buffalo, and elk to cats, hawks, and even dinosaurs.

Michelle has a degree in animal science and does a lot of research on the anatomy of animals to get correct proportions for her metal sculptors. She starts with a large piece of metal, cutting it into small, random pieces. She lays out the pieces to get the form she desires then starts welding to create her realistic animals.

"Some of my sculptures take about 8-10 hours to complete, but others take uncountable hours," she said.

At the present time she is busy making sculptures of a horse and polo player as trophies for an upcoming tournament.

She does all her metal work out of an old horse trailer at this time, but said she is in the process of building a new shop.

Her dream is to eventually do life-size outdoor sculptors.

"Someday I want to make a whole herd of elk," she said.

"Creating these sculptors is a 'have to do it' type thing for me."l like I'm giving a part of myself to society with my artwork. Sometimes I whine while I'm making a piece, but I love the end product."

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