Wilmington artisan Rogelio Zavala creating upcycled works in his home

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Wilmington artisan Rogelio Zavala creating upcycled works in his home
Local artisan Rogelio Zavala is creating upcycled works in his Wilmington home.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- When Rogelio Zavala is not working his construction job, he's turning found items into unique pieces of art.

He says his creativity just comes naturally. Would-be trash that he finds in the woods or on his construction job site often serves as a source of inspiration.

"Something come into my mind, and I said hey, I can do this with this thing," he says.

He says a wooden branch, when sliced into smaller pieces, reminded him of candy in Mexico called "Charamusca."

"What is trash for one, is treasure for another one," says Zavala.

His environmentally conscious materials usually include upcycled wire, wood, and stone.

"I call them bonsai trees," he says of the sculptures he's crafted.

He says working on the trees is "very relaxing," because the time seems to fly by while he's doing it.

"But they really hard, because you have to be focused on the wire," he says. "It takes a lot of time."

In addition to the sculptures, Zavala also makes jewelry out of copper wire and other materials.

"All of it, it's by hand," he says.

Wrapping wire is a skill he learned back in Mexico City.

"But that was a long time ago, I just forgot about it," he says.

Zavala says when he came to the U.S. in 1985, he worked picking mushrooms, then in landscaping, before eventually landing in construction.

"This is my hobby," he says of his artisan work.

He says he only picked back up with handcrafting pieces about five years ago, working on pieces "just weekends or days off."

Zavala says he hopes to do more when he eventually retires.

"I feel that I can do more stuff," he says.

And he'll be helping the planet one creative piece at a time.

"We need to recycle," he says. "Mother Nature needs it."

For more information: Rogelio Zavala on Instagram