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10 Artworks to Get You Obsessed with Recycled Art

“…uses newspaper print to create lifelike animal sculptures. From walrus and hares to iguanas her sculptures can take up to three months to create.”

The words recycled art might conjure up mental images of school art projects; made from milk cartons and wonky hot glue guns or you might picture the sweet but alas a little tacky tin can aeroplanes of your local crafters market. What you might not immediately imagine is gallery worthy fine art. No I am not kidding; recycling and fine art certainly belong in the same sentence and the same room. But before I get into that, I am going to touch on why this topic excites me so much.

It has been a welcome relief to see the recent surges of interest in acknowledging and tackling climate change and environmental disrepair. As a long time nature lover I have often wondered what makes people cringe when environmental advocacy is discussed. I posted on my Instagram about being an animal lover and had 6 of my 600 followers- 1% unfollow me in a matter of minutes. And whilst I have never been one for social media numbers, I was honestly quite surprised. Did those people think I was climbing up the ladder of my soap box at a mere mention of animals? Or are some of us trying that hard to hide from our own shame of not doing more, that we can’t tolerate someone else sharing love? I am not sure -but I do know whether we like to acknowledge it or not is we belong to Mother Earth and we all have a responsibility to start caring for her. Which brings me back to art- how do we motivate each other to change poor habits, how do we raise awareness without the soapbox and how do we inspire people that cool things can be done and created with what we already have? Well apart from saying a quiet thank goodness for David Attenborough amongst other people, there are lots of things we can do. When it comes to art, I have already written a blog post about sourcing ethical art materials (that you can read here) but we can also look at arts role in playfully advocating and creating inspiration for meaningful change.

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Where to buy Eco Art Materials

Despite many dead-end google searches I have been replacing “all too hard” with a list of ethical producers and suppliers and alternative ideas to our fast paced art cupboards. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about starting and transitioning one thing at a time. 

So you have your eco hit list; the one with your regular purchases and habits that your determinedly and slowly switching out for more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives. Reusable shopping bags-tick  Glass Tupperware- tick, reusable straw- tick, stainless steel razor- tick, art materials- um, cross. It’s no secret that certain things are harder to find ethical alternatives for and art materials, i believe, are right at the top of that list. It’s not that there aren’t ways to make art without the plastics,  environmental toxins and  ocean threatening micro-waste, it’s just that these ways aren’t as convenient or as pretty and sometimes they are even a bit hard to find. Bright colours, fast-drying and affordability have all become trade-marks of the art supplies industry. For the last year as i slowly wade through my back-log of art materials i have wondered, where to next?  Despite many dead-end google searches I have been replacing “all too hard” with a list of ethical producers and suppliers and alternative ideas to our fast paced art cupboards. There is now enough of a list of eco art materials I thought i would share. Each mention of a store or brand should be hyper-linked for you to click for more info- I hope you enjoy!

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