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Peer into the windows of their studio on Rockford’s Central Avenue late one night, and chances are you’ll find Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner of MainfraiM Habitat for Art captivated by their work, performing some inspired alchemy. In the hands of these artists, salvaged and cultured materials, mechanical relics and found objects are transformed into inspired lighting, sculpture and custom frames.

A certainly perfect homage to Rockford’s heritage and manufacturing narrative, Jeremy and Carmen’s work captures “history and industry joined with earth and light”, and the result is truly captivating. With an obviously deep respect for materials “aged to perfection by time and weather” and a strong nod to the past, MainfraiM’s works seem the perfect amalgam of history, time and place. The two artisans also exhibit that perfect fine balance of exquisite craftsmanship and restraint; hand-hewn reclaimed barn wood retains its patina and character, while handcrafted picture frames may demand finer virtuosity and finishes.

With a “passion for things forgotten”, Jeremy founded MainfraiM, embracing art and making it a career. He believes that the often humble materials—hand-dug apothecary jars, castoff isolators, mechanical relics and hand-hewn barn wood—have a story of their own. Carmen joined Jeremy in 2011 as a design maven and revels in “digging up society’s cast-offs and making her finds meaningful and purposeful again.” With an entrepreneurial spirit seemingly sprung from the refuse, these young artisans have created and nurtured a business while salvaging and repurposing others’ trash.

Perhaps the most quixotic of their creations, their witty sculptures combine material inspiration and artistic ingenuity to invoke both curiosity and intrigue. Jeremy and Carmen both know that their “work transforms archaic technology and life into modern imagination.”

You can see MainfraiM’s work currently exhibiting at Octane.

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” – A. Rose

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