Hampden's Mud and Metal turns old items into new art

It’s full of used goods, but “second-hand shop” is the last thing you’d ever call Mud and Metal fine craft gallery. As the song goes, at Mud and Metal, “everything old is new again.”

Gallery owner Carol Breining, who set up shop on the famed “Avenue” in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, specializes in an inanimate form of reincarnation, using hundreds of artists, both out of town and local, to satisfy her clients’ desire for recycled art.

Her store is bright, colorful, and busy — and that’s just the inventory.

“Currently, I have upwards of 50 artists,” she explains. “[They] bring things in and, with so many things going out, there is always a shift in stock.”

So what’s your pleasure? Breining will point you in the direction of wall art that uses old nails to create flamingos and suns for that special place over the sofa. Two local artists create jewelry from the shells of bullets, even adding colorful gems and stones for bling.

 Breining’s collection of garden art is delightfully ingenious. Each piece is one of a kind, she says, citing “turtles and ladybugs made out of old Army helmets,” crabs brought to life with “wrenches for claws” and “stink bugs using old shovels for their backs and screws for their legs.” There is even a 4-foot-long alligator with the face and head of a fire extinguisher on a spring that bobs up and down with a tentative pat.

The purposeful art features lamps made of Thermos bottle bases and shades from colored liquor bottles. River rocks are mounted on long boards and used as clothes racks. And while Breining also carries paintings from local artists and a wide variety of non-recycled goods, her recycled inventory is as limitless as her artists’ imaginations.

“It’s simply relooking at what we are throwing away and how we can use it differently,” she says.

Mud and Metal
1121 W. 36th Street, Baltimore

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