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Reviving Unwanted Vinyl Records: Sykesville Artist’s Creative Transformation

Many damaged vinyl records often end up discarded in landfills, but a select few are repurposed into unique pieces of decorative art by McKenzie Warfield, an artist based in Sykesville.

At the age of 26, Warfield dedicated a recent Saturday to crafting personalized art on vinyl records at Baldwin’s Dream, located at 7550 W. Main St. in Sykesville, catering to the shop’s clientele.

Being an avid record collector, Warfield recognizes the challenge of recycling vinyl, which motivated her to transform lightly damaged records into artworks. She particularly favors classic rock records from the 1960s and 1970s.

“I strive to contribute in the best way possible by rejuvenating items that require a fresh perspective,” Warfield expressed. “This approach helps in reducing unnecessary waste.”

Warfield, operating under the brand Kreativity By Kenz, spent the day painting and personalizing records with names, lyrics, quotes, and various artwork for Valentine’s Day at Baldwin’s Dream Shop in Sykesville. The painted records are intended solely for decorative purposes and are no longer playable due to the acrylic paint coating, which may cause scratching. Many customers choose to display these painted records as wall adornments. The records selected for Warfield’s projects exhibit some degree of damage or warping but are never chipped or completely shattered.

Each piece is meticulously personalized by incorporating words, phrases, and designs that hold significance for the purchaser, a process that typically consumes 10 to 20 minutes per record, contingent on the complexity of the design. The pricing stands at \(30 for 7-inch records and \)40 for 12-inch records.

“My objective is to encourage individuals to look beyond minor imperfections like scratches and dents and perceive something novel that they hadn’t envisioned before,” Warfield explained.

Gale Baldwin, the proprietor of Baldwin’s Dream and a close family friend of Warfield, expressed his delight in collaborating with her for the event. Apart from the personalized records, Baldwin’s Dream retails painted records by Warfield without customization, alongside an array of other handmade products.

“She independently conceived this idea,” remarked Baldwin, aged 74, “and we wholeheartedly endorse her efforts.”

While Warfield has been a painter for an extensive period, she only commercialized her artwork after launching an Etsy shop in 2018, encouraged by her then-boyfriend. In October, she tied the knot with the same individual who inspired her to establish the shop. Residing at Rocky Meadows Farm, a place steeped in her family’s heritage, Warfield, despite her artistic passion, pursued studies in science and presently serves as a contractor at the National Institutes of Health.

To date, Warfield has painted approximately 850 records and specializes in refurbishing second-hand picture frames and crafting other forms of wall art.

“It’s evident that people appreciate the concept of striving for sustainability,” Warfield remarked.

The record personalization event coincided with Valentine’s Day, offering a fitting gift option. Warfield aspires for this community event to mark the inception of many such endeavors.

“Even if a single individual stops by and I manage to brighten their day by personalizing an item that holds sentimental value, that’s more than fulfilling for me,” Warfield concluded.