We asked the artists selected for our “Recycled Art” Show the following questions:
1)In a short paragraph, tell us about yourself
2)With your recycled materials, tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps to achieve one of your works from sourcing the materials to completing the work for display or use.
3)What is your favorite piece for sale at this event? And why?
4)What has inspired you to apply for this show?
5)Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
What follows are responses we received and images of some of the work you’ll see in this show.
It all started at my daughter's Wedding Shower when I created 4 gifts: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. For the “something old”, I found an old skeleton key. I put it on a chain and called it the Key to Happiness. Little did I know then that the Key to Happiness was meant for me too!
A short time later, I looked around the garage and realized just how many construction materials either end up in a landfill or are just sitting around in everyone’s garages collecting dust. Suddenly, every latch, hinge, drawer pull, keyhole, plumbing elbow, washer and wing nut was calling to me, begging to be upcycled!
That was 7 years ago, and I’ve never stopped being inspired. My Key to Happiness comes from allowing my customers to experience quality handcrafted jewelry from recycled hardware and feel good about their environmentally-conscious choices. Saving the Planet one piece of hardware at a time!
The production process starts with a creative vision of what a piece of attractive recycled hardware jewelry could be. Some of the recycled materials I use are: Vintage Garter Hooks, Fishing Lures, Latches & Hinges, Drawer Pulls, Vintage Dog Tags, Snaps, Hooks & Eyes, Shade Pulls and Saddle Hardware. All of these materials are hand-picked by me and not mass produced.
I have a small home studio where I create my products with hand tools. Some materials such as drawer pulls require the use of a grinder and a drill to create smooth edges and chain attachment holes. All of this labor is done by me and not outsourced. Recycled hardware jewelry is my passion and all this labor is pure therapy for me!
My favorite piece for sale at the Recycled Art Show has to be the Antique Garter Strap Necklace and Earring Set. Let’s face it, these recycled vintage garter hooks represent a time when holding up your nylon stockings was complicated and tortuous.
My Boomer customers find the garter hook jewelry a welcome upcycle from their original purpose. These garter hook pendants and earrings are handmade with 1 cup of mid-century nostalgia and a tablespoon of naughty!
Did you know that metal can take thousands of years to biodegrade in a landfill? Every day Americans discard tons of hardware, often simply because it doesn’t match their furnishings!
Savvy Reclamation’s inspiration comes from a need to promote sustainability and prevent usable hardware from ending up in landfills. My most rewarding moments come when my customers are drawn to a piece on display that they saw from a distance. Then when I tell them what the piece is recycled from, they love it even more!
I am a local Colorado Artist and run a Woman-owned business called Savvy Reclamation. You can find my unique recycled hardware jewelry designs at the Olive Tree Traders in Old Colorado City. I have an Etsy Shop and a Handmade at Amazon shop on the web. Follow my Savvy Reclamation Facebook page to see my 2018 Events Schedule. Ask me to make a custom piece for you!
Handmade at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/handmade/Savvy-Reclamation/
I have been crocheting since my grandmother taught me when I was a little girl. My interest was reignited my freshman year in college when someone in my dorm held a crochet class. Crochet and knitting are my happy place, my therapy, and my social outlet. Quality yarn can get expensive, so reclaiming yarn from other projects and sweaters is an economical way to use nice fibers.
Aside from some supporting features, my work is made from yarn reclaimed from sweaters found at thrift stores. I generally choose sweaters made from cotton or wool, as these fibers are easier for me to work with. Sweaters must have the seams sewn together instead of serged since serging cuts the yarn into short, unusable lengths. After taking the sweater pieces apart, I ball the yarn, and it is ready for use.
I used a few different crochet techniques to make these fascinators. With the green fascinator, I used freeform crochet. The white fascinator is made of three triangular doily shapes seamed together. The beige fascinator is comprised of Irish crochet style motifs. The pieces of the fascinators were wet blocked with fabric stiffener, then assembled once dried.
My favorite piece is the beige fascinator. I have a special appreciation for the art of Irish crochet, and I feel the motifs on this fascinator are a beautiful example of that.
The most important thing I learned at a past gallery show I was a part of is that I should not be afraid to push myself. This call for entry gave me a great excuse to do just that.
My pieces are generally not for sale because I create for the enjoyment of creating. I often share my work on Instagram and Facebook.
I have been a woodworker all of my life, even during my active 35-year business manager and consultant phase. I made my earliest furniture starting in 1973 because my wife and I needed furnishings in our early married life. I discovered live edge or natural edge woods about four years ago, and I have been hooked ever since. This style incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of the piece making each one unique. Once I discovered live edge wood, I knew that I could start crafting unique products for craft fairs and art galleries.
Most wood harvested in Colorado ends up as firewood. However, there are sawmills in Colorado that save the trees for a more beneficial use. All of the woods, which I personally choose, have been responsibly harvested along the Colorado Front Range from dead or dying old growth. My main sawmill is in Ft. Lupton, CO, and while I buy most of my wood there, I also go through the debris pile. Sawmills toss the bark and outer cuts into a pile for locals to use as fire kindling. I have found some of my most interesting, recycled pieces in this way.
The choice of materials is really the key. I try to find pieces of wood with unique colors, shapes, patterns and grains. At times I know exactly what I will make; with other pieces, I store the wood in my garage until I get inspiration. Most of the wood that I use is only rough cut, so a lot of physical labor goes into bringing out the richness of the wood. If the bark is still on the piece, I decide whether to keep all or part of it or remove it totally. The insects that thrive on live trees live just under the bark. By removing the bark, you can see the homes, tunnels and feeding areas of these insects on the "live edge".
While I try to maintain the natural look, most of the wood has to be cut to size for the table or hanging that I am making. I have three different electric saws that I use for this process. Then, using two different electric sanders, I start a long smoothing process. I will change the grit of sandpaper five to eight times, moving from the toughest to the finest grits. Along the way, I repair damage like cracks or holes with the sawdust from the same wood and glues. Some pieces incorporate gem stone inlay to repair damaged knots or to repair cracks. I normally use chrysocolla or turquoise for this process. Other areas of insect damage such as small holes or tunnels are left alone as a "distressed" look and feel. When I am pleased with the smoothness, I apply finishes to protect the wood. I use a combination of oils that bring out the richness of the colors, grains and patterns in the wood.
For my tables, I order steel legs made by one-person shops around the country. These crafters utilize either recycled steel or new, U.S. steel.
The Maple Burl Cluster Accent Table has the most unique wood I have ever used. Pulled out of the debris pile, it was covered with dirt and sawdust. However, I knew from the edges that there were burls in this piece. A burl is a deformed growth both in the interior and exterior where it is filled with small knots from dormant buds. The burls produce interior pressure that forms unique swirling patterns and colors. The piece for this table top has seven separate burls that produced this truly unique piece.
I have visited Commonwheel for years, as well as attending their arts and crafts show over Labor Day weekend.
I regularly check the websites of galleries which I respect looking for relevant shows. I was lucky enough to find this one. Since almost all of the wood that I use is recycled, I knew that I wanted to enter this show.
My main site is on Facebook where I post all of my new work and where it is going: www.facebook.com/LiveEdgeWoodcraftsColorado/
I have been represented at 45 Degree Gallery in Old Colorado City, 2528 West Colorado Ave. for the last 2-1/2 years. I am also a member of the 40 West Arts District in Denver metro, and I exhibit at their gallery frequently: 40 West Art Gallery, 1560 Teller St, Lakewood, CO 80214.
I grew up in Manitou, my husband (Kirk Gamez) and I along with our 2 children (Kaleb Games and Joshua Stewart) went to Manitou schools. My mother Georgia Edmondson was a water-colorist and encouraged me though out my childhood. After attending Colorado Institute of Art in the early 80's I have worked for several large corporations as a graphic designer. I worked at Hewlett-Packard for 10 years before moving to Current. I then switched from graphic design to primarily web design and have a free-lance business at present doing both graphic and web design. I started painting about 8 months ago and have found it very therapeutic. We live in such a beautiful area, I have enjoyed sharing it with my art.
After being given some old windows a friend and my sister-in-law suggested I paint pictures on them. When I paint, I have to paint backwards on the frame, so the front side is the clean side of the glass. It's a little tricky.
The piece I love and is attached and is one of the first frames I painted on. I love the color combination- the original red painted frame with Pikes Peak.
I have always loved Commonwheel—wonderful works of art! I am very honored to be chosen for this show!
I am on Etsy, but I will have a website soon.
I'm a life-long artist. I am now retired, but I worked in video production for 35 years. I have always worked with oil and acrylic paint and worked with wood—both new and rescue for the past 10 years.
I seek out materials everywhere—on the curb as I walk the dogs; in yard sales; at music and antique stores; I've even tried ads in Craigslist. Over the years I’ve accumulated various handles, knobs and trim bits and I let the main component of the piece guide which direction it's metamorphosis will take.
The Colorado jewel box is my favorite of the two because it's more colorful and since its 3D it took more work.
I really appreciate recycled and upcycled art, and I am very glad that Commonwheel is highlighting this medium. So naturally I wanted to contribute!
I'm not very good at sales and marketing, so I don't have a website or anything. I just try to find shops and sales which might appeal to folks quirky enough to like my work.
While working as a health care professional for many years, I have had many affairs with different arts and crafts. I was always on the lookout for the one that would captivate and challenge me—my one true love that would balance out my very left-brained, non-creative chosen profession.
I’ve found all this and more with glass, and along with my newly empty nest, I’m experiencing a Renaissance.
My current body of work includes small glass mosaic pieces (light switch covers) and fused glass work utilizing recycled glass (tempered glass shelving, automobile glass, shower doors, etc.). I love the green aspect of using “glass with a past”. They take on a renewed life and character of their own. Each piece is individually designed in my Colorado studio with special attention to color, flow and functionality.
Whether I’m working on a mosaic piece, or trusting the kiln gods with a fused glass creation, I am learning to appreciate the magic and alchemy that transform a simple material that had been headed for the landfill, into a glorious piece of art.
For my fused glass pieces, my goal is to never actually pay for glass, and with so much going to landfill every year, that's not very difficult to achieve. I have been known to pick up glass by the side of the road left on trash day and my neighbors know me as their local dumpster diver. I have come home on occasion to find pieces of glass on my front porch. I also have a brother who restores classic cars and he saves me rear windows. My favorite way to source glass is to go to a junkyard and bash out windows with a sledge hammer. Talk.about.therapy. Trust me, at that point it becomes performance art as well.
When I get the glass home, it's cleaned and left to dry. After that, it's just a matter of finding the right mold (I am currently experimenting with making my own from paper clay), loading the kiln, and saying a prayer to the kiln gods. Some of my pieces take one firing (approximately 13-16 hours in the kiln), and some take 2 firings (30-40 hours in the kiln). After that there is cold-working and possibly epoxying if I'm joining pieces together that I can't actually fuse in the kiln.
The bases for the light switch covers are usually found at a Goodwill store or a Habitat for Humanity Restore. Most of the glass I use came from another artist who wasn't doing stained glass anymore and needed to get rid of it. I gladly took it off her hands. The process I use is mosaic, meaning the pieces are glued on and then grouted. I can do any color, and any configuration. They make wonderful house warming gifts and new baby gifts. They turn out to be little pieces of jewelry for your walls.
My favorite piece in the show is the large blue bowl. It was made from a former computer desk that I found by the side of the road for the trash man to pick up. At first I thought it was a smoky color, but after I got it home and started working on it, I realized it was a gorgeous tealy blue color. It melts beautifully in the kiln, and I have made several pieces with it.
I was inspired to apply to this show because it was a perfect fit for the type of work I do.
My work can also be found at Shadow Mountain Gallery www.shadowmountaingallery.com in downtown Evergreen. My website is www.IndigoMesaGlassworks.com, and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/indigomesaglassworks/
This is post 1 of 3. More artists and their work will be featured in the next 2 articles!