I get called a recycle artist. I am not offended; they are expressing the spirit of what I do. Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse taught me that there is a continuum of waste reduction. First and best is reduce – stop consuming/buying so much. Second best is to reuse. If you need a glass jar, chances are you just emptied one, can you reuse what you have? Third is recycle. Recycling is a solution, but it is a process. Collect the glass jars, melt the glass jars, make new – well - glass jars... All of these steps consume resources.
I am a reuse artist. I admire the reuse art where you can see the materials. I am thinking of the murals comprised of saved bottle caps. These works are amazing and inspiring. However, I wanted to make art that the average person would want hang in their home. Fine art marries reuse.
I went to Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse to brainstorm substrates for my art. My first breakthrough was purchasing out-of-style artwork and affixing my artwork on top. I have photos of two of those pieces. The 'Carolina Wren' is on a piece that was originally from Bed Bath & Beyond. The Bees Balm flowers were applied to an old, faded photograph.
These pieces were successfully executed and even better - they SOLD. People were willing to buy my unconventional presentation.
Reduce, check – I was not purchasing new framing materials.
Reuse, also check. I was a very happy reuser.
There was however the challenge of finding the sizes and shapes that I needed. Back to the brainstorm!