Tyler Borchert grew up near the Hurley Mountain Inn, exploring the forests and byways of Ulster County on dirt bikes and four-wheelers. A little over a decade ago, he found work taking down and rebuilding vintage barns. “I discovered my artistic side,” he says. “I got fascinated by reclaimed wood, by rustic and vintage. I started learning all about stonework and mosaic.”
Borchert’s explorations inspired works of what he calls “eco-collaborative land art.” Each piece is site specific. “I hike around, find the right setting, build a sculpture, and photograph it,” he says. “I document its outdoor life. When it falls down, I bring it back to the shop and drill holes, put in wires and rods so it won’t fall apart again, and you can buy it! They’re unique, nontoxic decor and furniture pieces. I go hunting driftwood every day. I use a little reclaimed wood but 90 percent of everything is formed by the planet, was here before we were, and will never end up in a landfill.”
Stone Styling sculptures have been featured along Kingston’s Strand Walkway, and Northern Dutchess Hospital’s courtyard holds a permanent installation.
By day, Borchert is the caretaker of two local estates, and takes on stonework and landscaping projects to support Stone Styling Workshop & Trestle Gallery in Kingston’s old bluestone port. “When we’re not caught up in a historic crisis,” he says, “I host open mic and music sessions there. The way the iron bridge and the trees reflect on the water is spectacular. It ‘Zens’ you straight out to the magic zone. People come in just to see.”
Meanwhile, Borchert’s commissions remain steady “Everybody’s home and coming up with decor ideas; I’m busier than ever,” he says. “My skill set is pretty unique. I once built an entire cow from reclaimed metal. It milks, it moos, it lights up at night. It has handworked copper hooves and a braided wire tail. It was an oil drum, and now it holds wood for someone’s fireplace.”