CLEVELAND – A local artist has immortalized Cavs star LeBron James in a unique way.
For 20 years, artist Sandy Buffie has been turning trash into treasured sculptures.
Wearing gloves and a respirator mask in her Cleveland studio, the “Lint Lady” sifts through dryer lint sent to her from across the country.
She separates lint that has pet hair and sorts through lint that came from households using dryer sheets and liquid detergent.
“I don't really care too much about color because I paint everything anyway. But the texture of it is different,” Buffie said, adding that strange finds in donated lint have included half of a $100 bill, jewelry and a matchbook with a handwritten phone number on it.
After separating, she uses a combination of glue, dish soap and water to mold the lint into shapes. She then begins a weeks-long process of sculpting, hardening, painting and applying a polyurethane coating.
“It's readily available; it's free and it's a way to recycle,” she said, saying she was inspired to create lint art after creating a shape while she was fiddling with dryer lint and speaking on the phone years ago.
Since then, she’s created dozens of sculptures of people including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Johnny Depp.
Now, Buffie is adding LeBron James to her collection. Using 30-gallon bags filled with lint, Buffie has spent the past month immortalizing James.
The finished product, dubbed “LintBron James” sits in her gallery in the 5th Street Arcade, beckoning passersby to “rub LeBron’s head for luck.”
“It's really a great feeling to capture someone's likeness in a medium that's kind of bizarre,” Buffie said. “I felt it was really a challenge to capture his gentleness as well as his intensity.”
She said sales of her sculptures benefit the Center for Arts Inspired Learning, but if James wants his, the Cavs fans said she would happily give it to him.