Making Art Without Waste

Making Art Without Waste

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We all want an occasional reminder to encourage us to deal with Mother Earth with dignity and respect. I discovered my motivation as an artist in changing trash and recycling into artwork. Hopefully, the items I create can encourage, remind, and encourage every of us to do our half.

Recycling is a ardour for me. I reside and work in a 150-year-old warehouse that has been “recycled” into loft reside/work areas. I stroll to my studio, personal an EV for different transportation, installed solar at each my dwelling and studio, and use energy-efficient appliances. And I recycle, compost, and decide up litter in my neighborhood. My objective is to be carbon unfavorable and attaining that objective is inside attain.

But I’m not completed. I need to encourage and encourage others by way of my artwork.

Creating Art From Trash

My trash artwork has developed over time. When starting my artwork profession, landscapes have been a preferred topic for me. Often, once I would arrange my easel, I’d discover that there was litter someplace in my field of regard. It made me understand that sometime our world can be coated with trash.

I made a decision to attempt to experiment, exploring methods to seek out creative advantage within the trash itself. My collection “Environmental Reverberations” compares trash with nature. The work depict the repetitions of shapes in our surroundings, the echoes that repeat time and again each within the lushness of the pure topics and the surplus of our waste.

Two watercolors by Cathy Ehrler
Two work from Ehrler’s Environmental Reverberations collection. Credit: Cathy Ehrler

Next got here a collection, “Trashy Art on Means Street,” which options 52 works constructed from the trash that I picked up on the road over the course of every week. After taking a photograph of the piece, I both recycled or reused the trash. The picture was the one report of the work.

After working with trash because the medium, I noticed I may create everlasting and delightful works from the trash I discovered.

Bits and Pieces

I used to be stunned that collectors needed to buy the trash-based works I created. Currently, I’m creating mosaics made with trash and recyclable supplies I accumulate from my very own bins. They are made to be hung completely.

These mosaics are constructed from 1000’s of items lower tediously by hand from numerous trash supplies; cartons, cans, previous CDs, polystyrene, you title it. They are then glued to a recycled background or substrate. I search for colours and patterns within the rubbish. The solely merchandise I buy are unhazardous, environmentally accountable glue and sealer.

Artwork in progress
Ehrler cuts cartons, cans, previous CDs, polystyrene, and different trash into tiny items to create her mosaics. Credit: Cathy Ehrler

The accomplished mosaic items depict the fantastic thing about nature largely in florals and landscapes. By taking a better look, the viewer will see that these works encompass bits and items of trash, some from merchandise which are probably acquainted. Hopefully doing so can be a reminder and a motivation to recycle.

Tulip "trashwork" mosaic
Ehrler composed this mosaic out of cut-up items of trash and recyclable supplies. Credit: Cathy Ehrler

Sustainable Art Creation and Collecting

The inventive surroundings is full of issues you may reuse. If you might be an artist, go searching your studio for present supplies to make use of in sudden methods. As an instance, I had stacks of accomplished watercolors and as a substitute of tossing them I lower them up and made a brand new collection of assemblages which have been way more thrilling than the unique watercolors.

Look for supplies which are unhazardous and pure. Reuse frames and when packing work for shipments use recycled and bio-based merchandise; they could look scruffy, however they’re higher for the surroundings.

If you might be an artwork collector, think about supporting your native artists and urge them to strive recycling supplies that have been used of their creations. And make sure you think about the surroundings as you construct your assortment. For instance, if the work have to be shipped, choose the “slow” way to scale back carbon emissions. You may also ask the artists you accumulate how they create their work, whether or not they’re aware of making waste, or even when they’ve contemplated creating artwork from waste.

"Trashformation" floral mosaic by Cathy Ehrler
“Trashformation” floral mosaic by Cathy Ehrler

I’m consciously working to enhance my work and the surroundings on the identical time. Please benefit from the photos right here and be happy to achieve out to me if you’re an artist, collector, or simply admire the work. I hope it makes you smile and think about your relationship with the world we reside in.”

All art work copyright Cathy Ehrler. Feature picture: “Trashformation” panorama mosaic by Cathy Ehrler. 

About the Author

Cathy Ehrler is an artist who focuses on creating work that calls consideration to the surroundings and our tasks to maintain it. She lives and works in a 150-year-old manufacturing facility warehouse in Atlanta. You can see extra of her work at and on Facebook.