Thursday, July 22, 2010

Upcycling and Recycling Art Tips

We all want to get on the "Green" bandwagon if not in a big way, surely in a small way. Today on the Care2 Healthy and Green Living web blog, there was a wonderful video for upcycling your wine corks. I've been saving mine to use as tools in my artwork for years from stamping, textures to blending inks.

With stamping, you can carefully engrave on them with an Exacto knife or burn into them with an electric burning tool. For blending inks on glossy paper, just glue a piece of felt on the end of the cork and it's ready to go. If you only have a few corks, you can drink more vino or you can glue a piece of textured Velcro to the cork end, and then place your small piece of felt. That way you can change them for different colors! Want texture in your polymer clay? Glue small textured materials to the stub or the sides. Cheap and easy, and they are your own, not store-bought!

This video from Youtube, also gives a great idea for Upcyling those after party corks, and you'll be able to use it in your art room for posting messages, or great textures as a huge stamp! Hmm... I'm always thinking! Have a great rest of the day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Use It Up!..."

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico makes me angrier by day after long day. It amazes me that our country, so technologically savy, educated, so caring in so many ways, cannot understand the negative impact we do to our earth daily. I have always been an environmentalist, 'Earth Bird', 'Tree Hugger'... Call me whatever... I am proud of it. I realized long ago, that our own day to day living as part of a much larger wasteful society, causes the diverse, interdependent, fragile natural habitats, our own health, the health of our rivers and air to become ill. I knew we each must do our part, so I create art from recycled materials. This was my emphasis in the beginning, and still is a great part of my art- to make something beautiful from wasted materials. I remember my late Mother always using this anonymous quote with us: "Use it Up! Wear it out! Make it Do! Or do Without!" Yes, she was from the Great Depression era, but they were not wasters.

We recycle as much as we can in our home and in the studios trying to make, at least, a bit of a dent where so many do little but expect the earth to churn out the natural resources forever. Meanwhile, most gets dumped in landfills here, in poorer countries or our oceans. We have a composter for all the plant and vegetable clippings. It creates wonderful topsoil for my plants and herbs. We fold all cardboards from cereal, cracker boxes, junk mail and and heavier papers, and along with any metals or glass, deliver them to the recycle box or the recycling place in town. We drive little and conserve gas. With our list we make one trip to town instead of three or four. I enjoy going to second hand thrift stores looking for objects for my art and many other things to re-appropriate into new items. We try to buy things with less packaging, and bring our own handmade bags to the grocery stores made from the Jeans I found at the thrift stores.
Some will say I'm crazy, and I've been told this on many occasions over the years. It's said with such distaste and disdain too. But my answer to them is a simple refrain, 'Where is your personal responsibility to your own well-being, that of your children's, or to the Earth? Who does it start with, someone else? Why not you? When do we stop taking from the Earth and give something back?' We all can do a little something- "Count your pennies and the dollars add up" is a good old quote, and we can easily think of ourselves as the Pennies on the Earth that will add up to a cleaner, healthier Dollar planet if we choose to do our part.

What are some ideas you may have for re-purposing art materials or ridding your workspace of some of the toxins you may use? Let's share ideas in the name of Mother Earth today, - Everyday is Earth Day, or it should be!
Check this video out...