“I am a tinker. I like to make things with my hands” is how Ellen Wallace describes herself and the work that she creates.

Following classes in the 1990s, Wallace delved into the world of working with metals. Initially focused on silver, she later began upcycling aluminum cans during the pandemic. With a creative mind, even the strangest times can result in invention. Wallace noticed how colorful the cans of water her household drank while quarantined were, and used this to develop her craft. 

With the use of new materials, aluminum and tin, came new challenges. She cold connects the materials together, as heat could alter the materials. She became fascinated with a variety of other household materials, such as cookie tins and tea tins to make jewelry, and wire and buttons to make flowers. “The same person who taught me jewelry taught me how to work in wire.” Wallace explains, with the influence still prevalent in her work today. 

In June of 2021, Wallace began working with The Gallery @57. About her experience she states, “I love the people… I bring in new artists.” An organizer by trade, she stepped into the role of Artist Liaison, finding new talent to enrich the gallery. For her own collection at the gallery, Wallace chose the name Back Porch Metals, after the studio she has on her back porch. A reflection of her use of everyday objects, she gives the mundane a new life. For example, most recently, she began a new product line, wine glasses made out of teacups and stems. 

Not only is she a creator, but Wallace shares her knowledge with the world through classes at Idle Hands Brewery. A partnership beginning around two years ago, the classes are still going strong bringing community events to Malden. “For me, it’s been really nice getting to work with the artists,” Wallace says about organizing the classes.