ARTIST TERRY CHAMBERS PAINSTAKINGLY DISASSEMBLED EACH OF THE TRAPS, ONE BY ONE, PULLING APART UP TO 16 PIECES AND CAREFULLY LAYING THEM OUT. THESE TRAPS AND SNARES WERE DESIGNED TO TRAP AND KILL ANIMALS, BUT CHAMBERS IS FINDING A NEW USE FOR THEM AS COMPONENTS IN ARTWORK TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT TRAPPING. USING SOLELY TRAP AND SNARE COMPONENTS, CHAMBERS CREATED A BOBCAT SCULPTURE THAT WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN A VARIETY OF LOCATIONS TO EDUCATE PEOPLE. THE WORK IS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN CHAMBERS AND LOCAL NONPROFIT WYOMING UNTRAPPED.
“We wanted to show the spirit of a bobcat, a Wyoming furbearer that’s really a free-roaming spirit trapped within these pieces of steel,” says Lisa Robertson, board president and co-founder of Wyoming Untrapped. “We wanted to use these archaic traps that are still being used today and make
the life-sized sculpture out of the very steel devices that claim the lives of these wild animals.”
They selected a bobcat intentionally since it’s an animal many people don’t think about very often. “They don’t get as much exposure as the big cougars, the big cats, but we feel like they are every bit as big and valuable to the landscape as the larger animals, which usually get all the exposure in Wyoming,” Robertson says.
Robertson first approached Chambers about creating the sculpture last summer, and he finished it in May. Chambers normally creates ornate handrails, elaborate fireplace doors, and custom-designed artwork for clients through his fabrication shop, Custom Iron Design. He was excited to work on an artistic project to bring awareness to the issue through a medium that would appeal to people who may not learn about the topic other ways.
“We’re bringing attention through art,” Chambers says. “I think you get people coming to critique the art, to see it, and also they get to hear about the reasoning behind the art.”
In order to create the sculpture, Chambers and Robertson collected traps from throughout Wyoming as well as other Western states. The finished product will be a traveling piece, exhibited in a variety of locations locally and around the country.
“We hope that it will touch the hearts of people who have never been interested in the rhetoric of it all, that art may reach those people,” Robertson says.
Chambers finds the project personally meaningful. “It’s something that I get excited about doing,” he says. “It’s a labor of love.”