Recycled & Reused
The anonymous artists who created items using recycled materials may well have had limited means. However, these thrifty improvisations make recycled art a genre that is rich in the spirit of creativity. From the simplest use of seashells, buttons, fruit pits and crockery bits as decorative elements on boxes, bottles, or frames to creating an entire piece of furniture using cast-off crates or cheese boxes, ingenuity and a "make-do" attitude drove these artists. Shelves and lamps made of empty wooden spools, baskets made from bottlecaps, and baling wire salvaged to weave baskets are all examples of creative reuse.
Textiles may also figure into recycled works — rugs crocheted from women’s stockings in shades from black to palest tan, "scrappy" quilts with elements of their pattern blocks pieced together from two or more bits of fabric, and table runners with finely hemstitched borders that started life as flour or meal sacks, all are evidence of the thrift and creativity of our forebears.
In the arts, recycling has had a grand resurgence. There are certainly many contemporary artists who rely on the "scrap heap" as a source of materials. At The Ames Gallery, Jim Bauers' enchanting array of animals and people made largely from scrap aluminum are prominent features; Deborah Barrett makes creative use of everything from old socks, chair legs and wood boxes to old maps, journals and engravings; and on occasion, old notes, bills, paper bags and spilled coffee are important elements in the drawings of Barry Simons.
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