Suggested Materials: Newspaper, cardboard, plastic bags, junkmail, found objects (twigs, leaves, bottle caps, trash, broken jewelry, nails, screws), discarded/second-hand frames, any kind of grid material, found board
Suggested Supplies: hole punch, scissors, glue (acid-free paste, gorilla glue, acrylic medium), needle and thread, string, yarn, epoxy.
Suggested Processes: collage (layering 2D objects on a backing), assemblage (sculpture or 3D installation comprised of found objects), sewing, crocheting, weaving
Design principles: repetition, contrast, texture, value (light and dark), scale, composition
How to approach your piece: Always make it fun—experiment and make a lot! Art is a practice, so spend some time getting your ideas out, learning your materials, and learning the things you like to do. Are you patient and can spend hours on a piece, or do you like to work spontaneous and fast? After time, you may want to think harder about what ideas, themes and meanings you can express. Consider the following: What is the meaning, association, of my materials? How can I use their inherent properties (color, texture, normal use/context) to make a statement? Examples of themes: irony, past, present, future, humor, culture.
- Research and study handmade objects and processes. Collage is not the only thing you can do with recycled materials. Get inspiration from how quilts, rugs, furniture, paper, pinatas are made.
- Think about what you can do with your hands already. Tie knots, braid, crochet, knit, origami, woodworking. How can you apply your skills to the materials?
- Think outside the box: twist, cut, shred, harden, glue, connect, fold, crumple, dangle... art is often about verbs.
- Think about the objects (trash, papers, bottles, etc.) that accumulate in your life. What do these things say about you? About society? About today?
- Repetition can be a strong and easy way to give your piece more conviction.
- If you're using printed materials, what does the text or images say? Is it important? How can you highlight that?
- Think about presentation. How will you display it?
Ideas often come from looking at other things. Check out these links or do your own research to get inspiration:
El Anatsui, artist
Indo, window display artists
Mary England, artist and blogger
Kyle Bean, artist
How to make handmade paper
How to make a pinata
So, there you have it! What kind of art have you made out of recycled materials?