American artist James Rice has become an internet sensation for creating beautiful motorcycle sculptures using nothing but bent spoons. Photographs of his unique creations have gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. He also sells his figurines on Etsy from time to time, each priced in the range of $3,000 to $4,000.
Spoons are an unusual art medium, and Air Force veteran Rice would probably never have used them if his wife, Jeny Buckley, hadn’t erroneously ordered them for wedding favors. “I had a lot of spoons I erred on, but didn’t want to throw them away,” she said. “I asked Jim to make something cool for me.” Rice, who has always been a good artist, immediately thought of motorcycles.
“I was good in art,” he later revealed. “I could draw, but I really liked taking things apart and putting them back together. I made my own bikes. I restored cars, built motors. In middle school, I built a mini bike. Anything that had a motor in it, I was intrigued.”
So a few hours later, Rice had built his very first sculpture – a basic motorcycle made of spoons and wheel bearings for tires. “That was before I went 100 percent spoons,” he said. After that, he kept building more models, each one more detailed and intricate than the last. And he stopped using other materials, focusing only on shaping each detail with stainless steel spoons.
Over time, Rice has come up with ways to bend and shape spoons without the use of heat or hammering. So he’s able to give them the shape the desired shape without spoiling their original beauty. “Jim flattens, bends, twists, and shapes the spoons by hand,” the description on the Etsy page reads. “Everything on his chopper is spoons; engine, wheels, tires, gas tank. He truly sees how to make the unassuming spoon into something most of us would have never thought of.”
Now that Rice has used up all the extra spoons lying around the house, he and Buckley spend their free time looking for more spoons at thrift stores and yard sales. And their friends regularly bring over spare spoons as well. Buckley, who names the models after animals they remind her of, revealed that it now takes Rice months to complete each one. “The Wasp took him about nine months,” she said. “That’s when he made some custom tools to bend and shape them without hammering. The Owl took about four and a half months. They wouldn’t take as long if that was all he did, but he usually works around 60 hours a week at his regular job.”
Rice’s latest creation, named ‘The Bagger’, is 21 inches long and weighs a little over seven pounds. After winning three awards at Washington State Fair’s Fine Art Show, it is now available for sale on Etsy, priced at $3,899.99. His work has also been covered by CNN, Buzzfeed, and Seattle’s Q13 Fox News. But what baffles Rice the most is that a photograph of ‘The Wasp’, featured on the Facebook page of motorcycle movie Why We Ride, was shared a whopping 130,453 times. “I never thought that would happen,” he said. “People are loving it. Not just the biker crowd, everybody likes it.”
“And that’s what I wanted, he added. “I wanted some kind of legacy. Something to be remembered for.”