Today is Earth Day so I’m devoting this blog post to environmentally friendly living and eco friendly recycling and upcycling. I’ve been into recycling all of my life. My parents grew up in the Great Depression so they knew how to pinch pennies. Creative reuse was something they incorporated into our lives.
I think many artists embrace recycling and creative reuse, myself included. I believe we are entrusted by a higher power to take care of the earth which is on loan to us, so whenever I can I incorporate creative reuse into my work and life, I do.
With the weather being so nice, I’ve been spending more time in my garden and I’ve planted some new plants, once of which is an apple tree. The care instructions suggested putting a protective barrier around the base of the trunk to protect it from animals such as deer. When the copier at work ran out of toner I immediately saw that the sturdy plastic bottle the toner comes in would be the perfect thing to go around the base of my tree. I asked my husband to saw off the bottom and the top to make a cylinder and then to cut a slit up the side. Here is a picture of the result.
We’ve been having a problem with a ground hog who loves to munch on my new plants. I no sooner planted tomato plants, cilantro, and zucchini than I discovered the next day he had munched off most of their leaves. Groundhogs are cute but they can be destructive. How can I possibly keep that critter away from my plants? I put tomato cages around them, some I inverted and used recycled stakes made from tree branches because the legs of the tomato cages had become too bent to stand upright. Then, depending on what I had enough of, I used either heavy duty plastic wrap (left over from wrapping furniture when we moved), bubble wrap which I always reuse, or plastic (which I also save) to go around the base of the barriers. I also created a teepee for my zucchini made from tree branches which not only serves as a barrier but also as something for the vine to climb.
For decorative garden purposes I reused a wrought iron light fixture rescued from my brother. I put a recycled flower pot inside of with ivy to make a planter. I created a small bird bath from a silverplated tray and a candle holder (epoxied together), and I reused a broken marble tabletop (rescued from a furniture store) which I broke even more to mix in with my garden stones to make a terrace wall.
In my own artwork I always try to upcycle. I’ve used recycled file folders, reycled jewelry, old maps and old magazines to make mixed media art. Recycled glass wine bottles become hanging wine bottle candles and cafe candles.
Broken glass and chipped china is applied to mirrors, or made into jewelry. Even now as I change how I do my pet coasters, I have learned to flip the tiles over if I don’t like the results after firing the tiles in my kiln, and use the other side of the tile for the image, covering the bottom with adhesive cork so there is little or no waste.
I’m including a link to Love 2 Upcyle blog which features even more recycled and earth friendly ideas and creations by Etsy Team Upcyclers.
Readers are invited to leave a comment on Serendipitini sharing some of the ways they go green.