I discovered not long ago why I have such a heart to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Not only is recycling something that was taught to our children in school (as it's important to maintain a healthy environment, right?), but reusing things was also passed down to me from my parents who were children growing up in war-torn Europe. When my grandmother was fleeing the east with her 6 younger children, including my mom, they had to leave all their possessions behind. So you can imagine why things they eventually gained back became so precious to them.
During the war years, in order to receive one piece of bread per person, you had to stand in bread lines for hours a day. On the rare occasion my mom (as a cute little girl) said she could get a second piece of bread if her mother couldn't be in the line for some reason. When I was growing up, you finished ALL the food on your plate!
My mom also told me of a time when she and her brother discovered a small block of cow salt as they were out in the fields playing, and what a treasure trove that was to my grandmother! The only food she had to feed her large family for supper were some old shrivelled potatoes that they had found in a bombed-out house basement. As you might imagine, cooked potatoes in water are a lot better with salt!
As I grew up nothing was wasted in our house – each item was well used. When clothing was too worn to wear, it became patches for other clothing and then the buttons and zippers were taken off while the rest of the material became rags. We darned our socks too.
As the stories of difficult times were told from both my mother and my father, they taught me the value of little things and that's why I've always had a drawer or two (in almost every room), holding "miscellaneous" items – from scraps of material to chipped plates and broken jewellery. Even though I know they're old and useless, in the back of my mind I'm thinking I'll surely need them for something some day!
And as it turned out, those little items became the basis for my first, somewhat-abstract, highly textured, upcycled art, that you see displayed in this blog. I call them "Heirloom Art Pieces."
My first large textured abstract (the red one at the beginning) was literally made from items in my kitchen drawer, the second one (beside it) was made from items in my bedroom jewellery drawer (along with a watch collection from my neighbour - thank you Emily!).
It's a satisfying adventure for me - making something beautiful out of formerly useless things that would otherwise end up in the landfill. As my own store of useless things began to wane, other gracious friends donated jewellery items – and now I frequently rummage through second-hand stores.
You'll notice that I not only use jewellery in my art pieces but also a wide variety of materials like tablecloths, scarves, cutlery, glass, wool sweaters ... and even computer parts! So, if you happen to have a drawer full of little things that are not very useful but still too good to throw out, this artist is open for donations!
If you're looking for a family Heirloom Painting as a gift for someone who has everything, I can make a lovely painting for their wall - as a commission. I'll use your own (or their) memorable miscellaneous items on either a 9 x 12 inch canvas (250.00) or a 20 x 24 inch canvas (800.00). Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org