When it comes to environmental issues, Kaikoura has lots to offer. First, there isInnovative Waste Kaikoura, where a group of concerned residents banded together with a common goal of reducing waste being landfilled in 1996. Then there is the Kaikoura Recycled Trash Fashion Show, one of the most iconic events of Kaikoura, which is unfortunately held only every two years. I was there in 2010, had lots of fun watching the show the hat I made from a vinyl record.
And also there is this Eco Art Fair, the exhibition of art and craft made from recycled materials. Last year I had wasted (in a good sense) a whole month to get ready for the exhibition. This year I was so busy with myself, I didn’t even notice it was near until the last minute.
If I may start from the last year, I have to say it was a challenge. The closest I got to creating something useful from trash was finding an old radio junked right in front my apartment in Istanbul, and using it as a high table.
I never got briefed about the subject too, I doubt anyone would be in an ad agency, so I was totally clueless. This is in fact the best suitable environment for creativity. Being new to the subject. I grabbed my notebook and my Aaron, and we started our daily trips to Innovative Waste Kaikoura, trying to see things differently.
- Hey Aaron, look there is an old tire!
- Eer, yeesss…??
- We can make a coffee table out of it!
- Finding out how is your mission. I am here to find the ideas! La la laaaaaa : )
Of course we could not end up doing everything we noted down as can be done, but these are what we came up with for the Eco Art 2010.
A Coffee Table Out of a Tire
I knew it could be done! Aaron found the base from the dump site too, and decorated it with some bicycle chains to his taste. The problem was fitting the wood inside the tire, in which we got some help from a tire technician who supplied us some greasy material. I had to jump on top of the tire at some point, but after a struggling half an hour, we made it!
A Lamp From Old Record Covers
Actually this idea was not new. I had made something similar on 2009 as a New Year present for someone I didn’t know. It is a long story, and I better write about that later. Anyway, this lamp was a version of that original idea. I had seen some junk records at the dump, which I wanted to use to create some jewelry. But what would I do with all those colorful and cool record covers? Then I decided to make a lamp shade with them, calling it “The Light Music”. The final touches were painting the lamp base with blackboard paint, and chalking the name on it.
Candle Holders From Old Vinyl Records
Making stuff, especially bowls by heating old records is something well known all over the world. Just google “record bowl” and you will find hundreds of images as well as some very nice tutorials. Because of my unbending “Never do the same thing if it is done before” custom coming from advertising, I tried to find a different angle to the subject and came up with these candle holders.
If you want to create these on your own, I suggest you first to watch some record bowl tutorial videos on youTube to have some idea about the practice. Then, get some 45’s, shape them to a bowl. Get another record, heat it, cut into strips long enough to cover the candles. Re-heat those strips, and quickly shape into a ring around the candle, and keep it firm for 30 seconds or until the record strip becomes stiff again. Then all you need to do is to glue the rings to the bottom of the bowl.
Some bracelets and rings from Old Vinyl Records
After my google searches, I also realized that creating jewelry by baking vinyl records was not something new. But it was new to me, so I did some anyway! When I was playing with them, I wanted to see if I could be fast enough to make a knot to the record strips. I was planning to cut those knots to create some earrings. Then I discovered I could use the knot without cutting it to make some bracelets and rings.
The trick is being very fast to tie the knot. But if you are not, you can always re-heat the vinyl for a couple of seconds and try again. I also used a fine nail file to smooth the edges.
A Mirror From an Old Computer Screen
Last year, I was working at the internet café, Global Gossip, surrounded by computers. That’s why the first ideas I noted down was all about creating new stuff from computers. Turning a screen to a mirror was one of them. So I asked my boss Dom at GG if he had some screens that were broken or not working anymore. He gave me three. What I did was, opening the screen, taking out everything including the wires, and the screen itself. (I later took those mechanic junk to the dump and found out that if you want to leave a whole computer screen you have to pay a little fee, but if you want to toss only some parts of it, it is free!) I washed the remaining case, dried it, sand it, and finally spray paint it. Then I took the case to a glass man where he measured the screen and cut a mirror for it. What was left to do was gluing the mirror inside, and reassembling the screen with the nuts I saved at the first place.
One last thing to add. When I came up with this idea, I of course wanted to check it first to see if it was done before, since I was attending to an ‘art fair’. I could not found a similar example, but I came across a legend that was linked on thousands of web sites. One point in time, someone asked a question on a web forum. “How can I turn a computer screen to a mirror?” When I first read the title, I thought damn, it is done before! But after I read the rest, I was both relieved, and could not believe my eyes! Because he also added: “I tried to scan a mirror but it didn’t work!”
Of course it is not all about me me me! Here are some of my favorites that are created by very talented artists attended Eco art Kaikoura in 2010.
The badges and jewelries created by Jennifer Kemp. The one with the “SOLD” sign in fact bought by me!
A mixed media. I unfortunately forgot to note the name of the artist :/
And my al time favorite, the beautiful paintings of Karen James on old rusty handsaws!
I already wrote I could not attend Eco Art 2011. None the less, this week I visited the exhibition to enjoy new recycled art pieces.
I loved the works of James Baker from Monkey Business Creative Carpentry. This one is called “Soundwave”.
These two pieces are called “Nature is my Entertainment” and “Nature is my TV” respectively. Very cool, isn’t it?
And here James is explaining Aaron how he made the Soundwave.
I adored these puppets made out of socks by Mare Simpson.
Among these peg dolls I tried to decide which one is me and ended up with the third one from the left in the middle row, lol!
Also, Karen James was there with her new paintings. One day one of them will be mine, I promise!
Before heading up to the studio to do some screen printing today, I would like to add some eco art/recycling ideas that lies on my notebook since last year lacking the courage, talent and the time on my side, but may be useful for you, dear friend. They are all literally yours to carry out!
A Key Board Out of a Keyboard
The idea is simple and lies within the name of the product itself. Take a keyboard that’s not working anymore, and turn it to a wall hanging that you can hang your keys. This could be super cool for a backpackers with lots of keys for their rooms.
A Container for Socks
Old big Coffee tins glued together and hanged on your bedroom wall for storing socks in it. Of course it is called “Life Socks!”
An Arm Chair
Take the arms of a display mannequin, and place them to a retro arm chair instead of the original arms.
A Pencil Box Out of an Old Laptop
Take out all the keyboard parts from the laptop, maybe paint the inside, and use it to store your pencils. The moment I find a junk laptop, I will do this for sure!
A Mirror from a Bicycle Wheel
Cut a mirror at the right size, and glue it behind the metallic wheel.
A Smoke Alarm Clock
I should be doing this years ago! Get a smoke alarm and implement the mechanic parts of a clock at the back of it. This could be a great present for my dear old art director friend Murat “Abi” Lafci, who used to set his watch’s alarm to limit his smoking to once every hour. : )
If you want to open a store specializing on recycled design, here is a brand/domain name idea: USED TO BE A.COM
You can implement it by dividing your new recycled products to what they used to be once. Used to be a tire, used to be a computer screen, used to be an alarm clock, used to be copywriter, etc.
And finally, here are some very useful websites and online stores from all over the world I came across on recycled art and design. Some found ways to turn trash into hard-earned but definitely well-deserved cash!
Literally Yours even disposed at the dump,