Lee bots are handmade robot sculptures made by me, Nancy Solbrig.  I’m an artist and graphic designer located in Rock Island, Illinois.  I love to bring new life to what other people might consider old, useless, or out of date junk.  These bots have been a passion of mine for the past five years. Always, on the lookout for old junk wherever I go.  Never knowing where the next great inspiration for a robot may come from.  Being that the first bot came from an old scape pile of metal and junk.  Now making bots with everything from computer parts, electrical parts, spice tins, and even bots with a bit of nature.






rupert1 rupert2

The Start of the bots, started in an unlucky spot. In the back corner of an old garage rested an hoarders pile.  Hidden in the dim lit dirty cover floor of a garage were old rusty pipes, bolts, scraps of copper and sheet metal though out the pile. Old greasey Harley, and car parts of bikes long since gone. Thrown, staked, teetering on top of each other.  All the mismatch aimless parts intertwined together now.  Years of dust, dirt, and grim now layering all the parts.  Hiding the mass of scape from the world. The years of grim, which scared most people away from touching, or wanting to deal with this messy horde of unwanted metal.  This didn’t scare me away though. In fact the opposite. I wanted to know what was under it all.  What was all of it?  Could I use any of these for an art project, or was it all really destined to become scrape metal?  The search started.

Standing reaching down grabbing the first piece off the top.  Dust already starting to fly in the air.  Part after part getting removed and thrown behind me.  Dust, now a thick blanket in the air.  My once snow white hands now a murky, black, covered with dirt and grease.  But there halfway though the pile.  There it was.  The start.  There laid  my grandma’s old mail box.  Old, rusty, and bent up.  The address, the name once painted in black slowly being eating away by the  rapidly growing rust that now claimed most of the debilitated mail box.  Fifty years of weather, sitting outside, getting the family mail.  Sitting on a long board, along side of the rest of the neighbor’s mismatched mail boxes at the end of the gravel road.  Awaiting the mail, day after day.  This mail box had to be remove to make way for the government approved, beige square box that has replace the mailboxes.  Everyone’s separate cubby holes.  All the same.

This old mailbox couldn’t just go to the scrap yard.  This had so much life still left in it.  What could it be?  My mind started running, thinking.  What? Further down the pile.  The mass of junk now spread throughout the garage.  Now I had started to become almost a part of the pile.  Dust now covered every part of me.  The grease now spread from my hands to my arms, my shirt, my jeans and the rest of my body.  Still looking for another part now to make the mail box into something.  But, there it was.  The second part to the mail box’s new life.  A lamp that was once in the house, but no longer worked.  No, it wasn’t a light anymore it was, a head.  A robot head.  A robot head for a mail box dog.  Done.  Finding the rest of the parts needed to make a robot dog  was easy in this pile of scape metal.  The beginning of something new for all this old, unwanted scape had begun.  Rupert the mailbox dog was built.  And the being of something new for me started.  A new love of making something new out of old, unwanted, left behind.  Whether its an old scrape pile, a junk store, or old computer and technology.  I find myself drawn to other peoples unwanted junk.





The bots get their name from my grandma Leona, or Lee for short.  After all the bots started from her garage.  Each of the bots is also given its own name and number.  The number the bots are given tells you the year the bot was made and the bots number in order of creation.  The bots have grown so much that there are now six different family groups based from the different materials used to make the bots.  Though there are the six different families now. Most of all the robots have computer, printer, and other electrical gadgets as their base of construction.







The Bit Bots


The Mail Bots

Bit Bots are made mostly with old computer, printer, and other electrical gadgets.  Bit Bots started after tearing up the computer tower from my first computer.  It was out of date and had been replaced by a new computer.  Sitting in the closet for years collecting dust.  Opening the computer tower for the first time brought in a whole new world of ideas.  The bland outside of the computer was nothing to look twice at.  But, the inside, all the mother boards, the wire, the little mechanical bits that make the computer run… After this I started tearing everything apart.

Mail Bots are made mostly with old mailboxes, big and small, and old lights.  These were the first of all the bots after finding an old mailbox in my grandma’s garage.  Since then, the Mail Bots have been made from mailboxes both big and small.  Mailboxes once used in the real world; to small mailbox tins meant for valentines cards and decoration.  The lights come from junk shops.  Most of the lights looking way past their prime and in need of a complete rewire job to ever work again.



The Twig Bots


The Jumbo Bots

Twig Bots are made mostly with a bit of wood and a bit of nature.  Wanting to bring together the two different worlds of technology and nature together the Twig Bots came together.  Carving each of the bots head from tree branches, they started to take form as woodland creature that get bound together with metal and wire of technology.  The wire running through the wood asking the question of which one is in contoral in the world we live in today.

Jumbo Bots are made mostly with big junk.  These bots are a lot bigger than the rest of the bots.  The Jumbo Bots can range in size from a foot tall all the way to eight foot tall.  The material used to make these bots range greatly.  Mostly they are made from big old rusty metal objects, but can also be constructed from a lot of little objects put together.  The biggest being my elephant in my backyard made from an old, rusty oil drum for a body and having an old rusty wheel barrel as a head.



The Electro Bots


The Spice Bots

Electro Bots are made mostly with old electrical boxes & joints.  These parts were found at a junk shop.  On the lookout for an old door I stumble upon these old parts in the used electrical section of the store.  All the old parts that are normally hidden behind your walls at home were here out in the open. The electoral boxes,  the light switches, the outlets, the breaker boxes out for all to see.  All used, torn out of the walls of buildings.  Painted, rusty, and wear marks covered most of the silver bodies laid on the shelves.

Spice Bots are made mostly with old and in some cases vintage spice tins.  These started after I helped clean out my great aunt’s house.  Old spice tins that laid in the kitchen cabinets for years unused, now apart of a line up, that awaited the trash.  That is until I snatched the spice tins up and saved them from a landfill grave yard.  One mans trash really is another person’s treasure.