Michelle Reader makes unique figurative sculptures from recycled materials, found objects and other unusual materials. Her sculptures sometimes have mechanical elements, using the working parts of old toys, clocks or other objects. Michelle makes recycled sculptures to commission, which are often used to promote reuse and recycling at roadshows and events. She runs workshops for festivals, galleries and schools creating sculptures and installations from scrap materials. She also creates props, models and awards for theatre, product launches, events and photo shoots.
The direction of Michelle's work has been influenced by environmental concerns such as pollution and overconsumption of resources. The choice to work with reclaimed materials was initially an economic one, as well as an ethical decision to focus on the environmental impact of the materials and processes used. Equally important is the message these choices give to the viewer, drawing attention to environmental issues in an aesthetic, humorous and non-confrontational way. Michelle also creates kinetic sculptures with mechanical moving parts, which can be operated by the viewer. The thrill of working with found materials is the unexpected uses they can be put to. For instance, creating a wind turbine out of two old oil cans, or the internal workings of an old clock becoming a mechanism for a propeller.