The Beauty in Recycling

Nature’s plastic

A lot of people recycle today to try and help the environment. In Marywood University’s art department recycling happens on a regular basis. If you’re taking a 3D class or even a sculpture class, you’ll be given a recycling project of some kind. Personally, I love doing recycling projects because the materials you use don’t have to be found in the garbage. They can be things left over from a previous project or even things laying around your house. Anything can be used to make a work of art.

Starting the project is always the easiest because you can collect the most random objects, even twigs and leaves you find walking. The hard part is figuring out how to put these things together to make them flow. You don’t always have to use everything you find. Don’t be afraid to put things together and pull them apart to find what works. After you have an idea of what you want your project to look like you can look for other materials that will work with it.

The featured picture is of a recycling project that I did for my Sculpture I class. I started out collecting a lot of Aquafina water bottles and tree branches from around campus. At this point I had no idea what I wanted my project to look like. It took a few days to find enough materials to start coming up with some ideas. I really wanted to make a tree or plant of some kind out of the objects that I found. Taking the branches that I had, I glued them to a glass bottle I found at home. The project still needed more so I used some left over wood from a previous project, The Flip Side. I added the circular and diamond shaped wood to the base of the bottle for support.

The branches glued to the bottle were bare and needed something that represented flowers. Finding a way to make flowers didn’t take long. After looking at the Aquafina bottles, I noticed the tops of them had a swirl shape that almost looked like a closed flower. So I cut each petal like shape out and bent them to look like a flower. I also used the cap of the bottle as the center of the flower so that each one could be glued to a branch. To give the top of the tree a more fuller look, I used the bottoms of the water bottles. They almost looked like water lilies and I wanted to give them the appearance that they were floating. Fishing line was the best way to accomplish this. The line is clear and if you are looking from a distance you can’t even see it, giving the illusion that some of the flowers were floating. I was very happy with how the finished project because it looks like the branches grew from recyclables. So I named this piece Nature’s Plastic.

Remember that there is beauty in everything if you just know where to look.

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