Artist Irene DuPont: Metal designs are made from recycled aluminum cans mounted in frames or on greeting cards, keepsake boxes and chalkboards.

IRENE DUPONT always thinks outside of the box when it comes to artistic creation, but the work she is most proud of requires thinking outside of the can. DuPont, a retired teacher with a master’s degree in art, has found a way to take an aluminum can, cut it up and create unique metal designs that she mounts onto paper.

DuPont stumbled onto this idea while designing her own greeting cards. Setting up shop in her home studio each night, she said she decided to do something that was a little crazy, completely different and wonderfully experimental. She felt inspired to wash aluminum cans, cut them open and using only the color palette found in each can, cut out a landscape, or a picture of an animal, or even a seascape scene.

The metal piece of art was then mounted onto thick paper, transforming into a unique greeting card, which she began selling at craft fairs.

“I believe I am the only one that does this, and I say that with pride,” said DuPont. “I like looking at each can and what it can bring into a piece and let its palette of colors guide me. People actually look at my work and can identify exactly what can I made the picture with — just by the colors.”

DuPont said that after she was doing well selling her greeting cards, she added keepsake boxes and chalkboards to her crafty collection, but it was her sister who suggested framing the artwork.

“My sister was convinced they should be framed, so she bought frames and just came over to my studio to start turning them into wall art,” DuPont said. “And it was really a great idea and people loved them. Today, I have about 200 pictures I have made ready to go.”

Now, 200 pictures may sound like a lot, but when you love what you do, DuPont said it is always a joy to be working.

“God has been good to me. I work in a private studio in my home, surrounded by a mess of materials and all I need to get inspired,” she said. “That’s how I create best, and I love every minute of it.”

DuPont’s creations range in price from $27 for a 5-by-10-inch picture down to $4 for a greeting card. She will consider creating a customized piece if time allows, though she has plenty of pictures to choose from in her collection.

DuPont’s work can be found at numerous craft fairs around throughout the year, and every Thursday through Dec. 15 at the Downtown Manchester Holiday Market, located in the Brady Sullivan Plaza, Manchester. For more details, contact DuPont at 622-9532, email iirenee13@aol.com or visit www.ireneedupont.com.