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Bruce Rea runs a Waterjet machine to create a metal sculpture.
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A sculpture inspired by Joshua Trees in California stands on Bruce Rea’s yardat 8th Street and Grand Avenue
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By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Bruce Rea doesn’t call himself an artist, but if you see his work, he is most definitely an artist. He says he “piddles” but doesn’t make art.

Rea works with metal, creating incredible metal sculptures and pieces of art. Rea laughed and shook his head when I called him an artist. 

Rea, who used to work at Ford, opened P&E Products, where he does metal work of all types. He uses a Waterjet Cutter. Having this type of equipment has allowed him to create what he does.

Sculpting from metal is a tedious process but Rea enjoys it very much.

When traveling, his eyes are always scanning for ideas for new projects. He has a large sculpture in his yard that was inspired by the Joshua Trees out west. Passersby can see it in his fenced-in yard at the corner of 8th Street and Grand Avenue.

“The large pieces, the circles, my wife saw a Joshua Tree in California and sent me pictures of them. So I wanted to try balance art. I did it in positive and negative space. Just cutting out the circles with the trees took around seven hours,” Rea said.

“The tails are five feet long, if we get a big wind they spin. One tail curves up and one curves down. The post is 11 feet 6 inches to the bearing post, the circles weight 85 pounds each and the post is 90 pounds. It took about a week to create.”

His inspiration comes from traveling and pictures. He takes a photo or finds a photo of what he wants, puts it on a computer, cuts it out and runs it through a machine that cuts the metal with water and sand. There are only three of these machines in Connersville, he said.

“I love art. I always loved going to the St. James Art Fair in Louisville. I went to the San Diego Park and saw balanced art and decided I wanted to try to make something. I make all kinds of odds and ends but I mainly make items for my yard,” he said

Rea also made the entire fence around his yard. Once he gets an idea in his head, he doesn’t stop.

In his yard also are a metal sculpture of a woman sitting down, metal crows taking flight, a mix of circles that look like a globe and the large Joshua Tree sculpture.