Local Monk Turns Old Nails Into Art


Forty years ago when a building at the Conception Abbey in St. Joseph Missouri was torn down, Brother Blaise Bonderer was drawn to the antique nails (believed to date back as early as the 1800s) that were left behind. He collected these unique square-shaped nails and gave them new life in simple art pieces. He started small, using epoxy to spell out words like ‘Love’ and ‘Peace’. After some encouragement from friends he updated his tools to an acetylene torch, which he used to melt and weld the brass together, allowing him to make more intricate designs. Later, after a thirty-year hiatus, Brother Bonderer returned to the art form, using nails and wood given to him by friends to create pieces like crucifixes, pendants, and wall decorations, which he sells locally, and gives as presents. Brother Bonderer says he enjoys the peace he gets from working with his hands. His art can be purchased or viewed at the Conception Abbey.


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