Thursday, May 4, 2017

We're All Ears :: May Inspiration :: Trash Transformed

  1. a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

I think we can all agree that there is far too much waste in this world.

Litter on the highways, trash on the sidewalk, overflowing trash heaps and floating barge dumps in the ocean.

Earth Day is celebrated in April, but for me there is no time limit on loving the earth.

I don't throw a lot of things away, and recycled as much as possible, which explains why I am a clutter-a-holic. But sometimes that tendency can serve me well.

There is a local art gallery that had an exhibit back in 2013 called "Re-Art: Trash Transformed." I had a piece in that (although I can't for the life of me remember exactly what it was!). There were some really ingenious pieces of art, all created from 75% recycled, repurposed, found or trash objects. They are mounting this exhibit again, entitled "Re-Art Revived" and I have been working on ideas that have to be in early next week in time for the jurying for prizes.

This challenge has me looking at those things I throw away so easily in a new light, and my favorite part of the challenge is to disguise the trash or alter it so that you would have no idea what it was to begin with. So since I am taking on this challenge, I thought it might be fun to see what you would do. Are you game?

Take a look around you. See what sorts of items you might have in your daily life that would normally get discarded. Stop and think about it a minute before you toss it away. Paper, plastics, metal....think outside the {jewelry} box! How can you transform these everyday things we take for granted and throw away into something special? After Easter I started keeping a baggie of those colored eggshells that I dyed, cleaned and ready for....something.... Hmmmmm.....that gets me thinking!

If you don't feel like clawing through your trash bins, why not look in your drawers....junk drawers, that is! I have at least two junk drawers in my kitchen (and one cupboard!). And my whole studio is a junk drawer at times! What objects can you find in there to give new life to? I stumbled upon a whole stash of used up gift cards. Wonder what I could make with those?

For me, a trick is to make the trash that is transformed truly something unrecognizable from its former state. Another tip is to mix materials....found objects with new beads, art beads with upcycled treasures. I plan to dip into my vast stash of art beads and gemstones to pair with the....oops! Not telling you!

Taking something that no one would expect in jewelry and elevating it to the level of adornment is exciting. I love when someone cannot figure out what the material is, and when I tell them they have that 'aha' moment! And it feels good to give new life to something that would otherwise sit in a landfill for the next 100 years.

A little upcycled eye candy to kickstart your Muse....clockwise from top left:
Nespresso pods - dollar bills - buttons and hose clamps - newspaper - magazines - soda cans - plastic bottles - tin cans

Be sure to take a BEFORE picture of the object that you are upcycling. I might even throw in a few process shots to show how I get it from its previous life to a new revised state.

If you need a little prodding about how beautiful castoffs can be, check out this collection of recycled jewelry from Who knew trash could be so beautiful?

Join me on Friday, May 19th for the reveal of our Trash Transformed!


  1. Oh cool! Love the inspiration, Erin! This may be the kick in the pants to make good on exploring a certain project that I've been plotting. :)

  2. Sweet idea!! Great inspiration Miss Erin! All the jewelry above is really beautiful, and inspiring! Fun challenge! Can't wait to see what everyone makes :)

  3. This is totally up my alley and I am so doing it

  4. Yep - I have something in mind too!

  5. Erin, your imagination amazes me always. You are very gifted. I don't know what Nespresso pods are but I suspect something to do with espresso. :) If I can fit it in, I'd love to have a go at this. Either way, it will be great to see what others do. Thank you!