Flying fish tells the weather

The Langley Arts Fund raised money for a new piece of public art in Clyde Alley.

The Village by the Sea now has a weather vane featuring a creature from the deep thanks to the Langley Arts Fund.

Weather Vane II by artist Wayne Kangas of Bellingham was installed earlier this month in Clyde Alley behind the Firehouse Glass Gallery. It is made out of recycled metal, and most of the materials used came from scrap from a company that makes high-end espresso machines. Kangas said the scraps were leftover pieces from the process of cutting the letters out for the name of the coffee-making contraptions.

“I take those letters, and I cut them and make whatever shapes out of them that I want,” Kangas said.

Kangas has been an artist his entire life, creating works that range from stained glass to photography.

He began working with metal about seven years ago. He gives most of his work to family or as auction items for various groups, but some of his pieces can be found in Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park on Camano Island.

He said he likes to work with recycled materials because of the challenge to make something new from scraps and unique shapes.

“Those pieces just give me inspiration,” he said. “A lot of times I’ll sit down, start playing with something and all of a sudden I get this ‘Wow, this is what I’m going to do.’”

He has made a jellyfish, a mural of Mount Baker, a chess set, and other works of art that can be seen on his Instagram profile, @kangasmetalarts.

It took Kangas about 40 hours to make the sparkling, fish-shaped weather vane. His goal was to make the piece equally balanced on both sides so it would pivot smoothly. It’s kinetic feature is what drew the Langley Arts Fund’s interest.

“We really liked the kinetic nature of the piece – the fact that it moves in the wind,” Wodjenski said. “When it’s sunny and it’s moving, it casts light around the area and that becomes an extension of the piece itself.”

The group raised $4,000 for the piece and it is the second public art piece it has installed.

The first is the 12-foot, bronze whale by Georgia Gerber. That one is located on First Street.

Both the artist and the group are happy with the new addition.

“We really like the idea of the movement, we really like the idea of its reflective qualities,” Wodjenski said. “We felt that it was an appropriate piece for a little seaside town like Langley.”