Recycling Arts

My environmental consciousness dates back a long while. In the 70′s my father was already experimenting with solar power, he kept bees and with my mother planted a huge Pansy', made from wire, papier maché, and copies of 'The Beano' comics by Justine Smith (born 1971) in 1999garden of exotic greens and roots. We had fruit trees and berries of all kinds around the house. My father was what is called in Quebec a ‘patenteux‘ or ‘bricoleur‘ in the Levy-Strauss meaning of the term. A ‘bricoleur’ is one who makes due with what is on hand to create something new. Thus my father repurposed items for other uses and invented his own tools to suit his needs.

My mother’s creativity began with exotic seed catalog inspirations that led to the unusual flower gardens she created and back to the kitchen where she cooked savory meals from all the bounty that surrounded our house. Raised on good food and surrounded by nature’s beauty and the inventiveness of my father, I was blessed with many inspirations.

I am my parent’s daughter with my own twist to the inheritance, an added social and humanitarian consciousness! Therefore how do you combine recycled materials and art making without having the results look like your elementary school art project made from toilet paper rolls and popsicles sticks? Well it’s possible and quite a few artists have taken this trend to new creative heights.

Arte Povera is defined by the TATE museum glossary to mean:

… ‘poor art’ but the word poor here refers to the movement’s signature exploration of a wide range of materials beyond the quasi-precious traditional ones of oil paint on canvas, or bronze, or carved marble. Arte Povera therefore denotes not an impoverished art, but an art made without restraints, a laboratory situation in which any theoretical basis was rejected in favour of a complete openness towards materials and processes.

Recycling arts take these material principles and add an environmental and at times activism dimension to them. Many examples that mix arts and crafts can be found here. You find that plastic bags are repurposed in a number of ways by turning them into basic materials (balls of yarn for example).

Tote bag

Knitted and crocheted into various shapes, combined at times with other materials the results like the ones shown here are impressive. The instructions on how-to make a more aesthetic and sturdier reusable tote bag can be found here. Other examples use VCR tape to knit and crochet different types of handbags (see left). Instructions are also available there.

Though considered a distinct category Outsider Art at times use similar non fine arts materials to create spectacular environments such as this one. On the other hand you find rusted metals and construction site left-overs reworked for the gallery space such as these fine arts examples.

What these different trends have in common is a breaking down of rigid artistic categories and an expansion of types of materials being used. Such leanings extend the possibilities in art making and art therapy while adding new symbolic voices to our toolboxes. What is your creative recycling approach to managing the ‘stuff’ of our throw away consumer society? Lets talk.

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Catégorisé dans Arts.

Publié le 10 mai 2008

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Un commentaire à Recycling Arts

  1. Yves Brunet
    Le 20 fév 2014 à 21:22

    Le Festival de Sculptures d’art populaire de Saint-Ulric (organisme sans but lucratif, NEQ : 1168613868) est à mettre sur pied la deuxième édition du premier Festival de la sculpture en art populaire du Québec qui aura lieu les 15-16-17 août prochains à Saint-Ulric près de Matane.
    Nous sommes à la recherche d’artistes sculpteurs d’art populaire pour exposer au Festival. Sur notre site vous trouverez le formulaire et les règles de participation.
    Pour plus d’informations vous pouvez communiquer avec moi.

    Cordiales salutations,

    Yves Brunet président
    Festival de sculptures d’art populaire de Saint-Ulric
    270 36e Avenue
    Lachine, Qc
    H8T 2A3