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Husband and wife team turns castoff materials into vintage art

Three joyful women traipse about with colorful umbrellas while half-rusted mermaids revel in shocking green and copper tresses and a ruby-red kite made of corrugated steel defies gravity.

Rarely has old beat-up scrap metal looked so friendly, light and spontaneous.

Talent residents and artistic couple Robbyn and John Runyon formed these and other works of art out of recycled metal, vintage jewelry, teamwork and a keen imagination.

"We both just work on all different parts of them," Robbyn said. "They're hand-cut, hand filed, hand painted. It's all recycled."

The Runyons create works of assemblage and solder for their business Frivolous Tendencies based in Talent, where the two have lived for six years.

"It just seemed like a good thing to do," said Runyon.

The pieces tend to be women, or in some way feminine, but the Runyons' work also includes the occasional animal or inanimate object, such as the kite. All are painted in vibrant, bright, rich colors.

"When we started, we liked it rusty, but then we started painting them and we like it even better," Runyon said. "It really attracts a lot of attention that way, and people looking for something for walls seem to like them."

Their pieces are growing in popularity, and in February the pair will start on a tour up and down the coast hitting art shows in California, Oregon and Washington.

The Runyons' work turns up often at the store Raw Elements at 77 Oak Street, and will be showing at Pilaf restaurant on the Plaza through the month of January.

Name: Robbyn and John Runyon

Age: He's 55, she's 52.

Hails from: Talent for the past seven years.

Niche: Recycled metal, vintage jewelry.

Training: John was a contractor and a finish carpenter, Robbyn worked with him, and they both have always been involved in their own art projects.

Claim to fame: "Our really unusual eccentric wall pieces."

Inspiration: "Sometimes I'm out shopping or reading a magazine, or out running 5 or 6 miles and an idea will pop into my head. Ideas are the big thing. They seem never-ending."