Sunday, August 31, 2008

Recycled Pasifika

This lei (Polynesian necklace) is over 5ft (nearly 2M) long & is made from flowers cut from egg cartons threaded on thick fishing line which I found on Castlecliff beach in Wanganui. The restaurants here in Browns Bay throw heaps of coloured egg trays out every week & I gather them up on my daily round of local trash sites and dumpsters.
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bird from a car tyre

A recycled car-tyre swan .......or is it a flamingo?
This beautiful bird is made from a car tyre. They used to be quite common in front gardens here in NZ when I was a kid - long ago last century. You hardly see them anymore & I was pleased to find this one up north. I am trying to figure out how to make them - evidently there is a trick in turning the tyre inside-out. Sourcing tyres without steel webbing is also an issue. If anyone has any tips either way I would be grateful for some assistance.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

recycled tin can truck

This is my first truck made from tin cans from the trash - I was especially pleased that a piece of cut-off metal from my own trash can was ideally suited to be smoke from the exhaust stack! The driver is the Zig Zag Man (here in NZ he is on the cover of packets of cigarette papers for rolling tobacco) & his companion is MM herself.
The back door opens to reveal a cargo of party-poppers - small bottles which shoot streamers into the air with a “bang” when you pull the string.
These square tins are harder to find than the round ones - so I am keeping my eyes open.
I got the idea for this piece from a fantastic book “The Fine Art of the Tin Can” by Bobby Hansson. Thanks mate for all the inspiration!
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Friday, August 22, 2008

More recycled news

This robot made from tins from my trash can was another entry in the Mairangi Arts Centre exhibition. He has sardine cans for feet, & his legs are filled with scrap metal & sand to keep him stable. I think the “cigar” in his mouth makes him look a little like Clint Eastwood!?

See more of my  recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

more recycled art

I have always admired the works of Andy Goldsworthy, & have often said “If only I could see as he does”!
With my growing interest in trash, I am beginning to see in my OWN way - jandals are fish, in tin cans I see arms/legs/bodies of robots, or parts for trucks. Other broken, worn pieces of metal & plastic are ideally suited for inclusion in assemblage works concerning the environment.
Recently I returned from beachcombing with a bag of pieces of plastic. I emptied the bag out onto the floor, & immediately “saw” a spontaneously-produced composition. I took a photo, them threw the pieces again..& again. The results are here.
Andy G. performs “throws” with dust & sticks - which don’t particularly appeal to me, but I can see that the approach has a lot of potential....these are my first efforts along these lines- it’s great fun!

See more of my  recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Every Sunday I make the rounds of several skips [dumpsters] in the industrial estate & outside charity shops. Sometimes I come home with very little, other times I find some real gems...all raw materials for robots, clocks, mobiles etc.
I take a stepladder to get up to the bigger skips, & have large boxes in the van to hold the goodies. I also take a crowbar, wire-cutters, a hammer, & a wrench - so that I can free/undo the bits I want.
At present it is winter here, down-under, so I am often out there in the cold rain. I take a thermos of hot water with me & afterwards park-up beside the beach & enjoy a large cup of tea & a biscuit - before talking a walk on the beach in search of flotsam & jetsam.
The green skip is outside the scrap-metal dealers, I have also shown its contents last week - it was very full, & I couldn’t delve very deeply. I got some tins (robots & trucks), 2 pair of gardening shears (hands for a figure?), & some barbell weights - which will come in handy when I am glueing collages.
The blue skip is outside a warehouse - it was completely empty!...I had visited it the Weds prior - & scored an old valve radio, a couple of electric hairdryers (will strip the motors out for kinetic sculptures), a scrabble set ( for use in assemblages), & a bag of broken toys.
See  my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Prize

Last month I entered 5 pieces into a local art exhibition entitled "Paper, Plastic, Packaging" - all entries had to be made from recycled/reclaimed materials.
I was pleased & most surprised to win first prize with my entry "Flip-Flop Fish" - comprising fish shapes cut from jandals/thongs/flip-flops {call them what you will} which I found on beaches during my summer travels in my camper-van around the North Island. They looked a little boring, all being plain colours, so I splashed some paint on them a la Jack the Dripper [Jackson Pollock] - & they came out pretty well.
Will post the other entries over the next few days.
At present I am working on a mobile Alexander Calder-style using more flip-flop fish - it's great making something which moves: painting certainly is dead!
See more of my  recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Monday, August 11, 2008

I found an old children’s book at the local market several weeks ago. Inside the cover is a certificate saying that it was presented to one Diane Goldsbury (S2) at Waitahinga School in 1957. What a gem!
These cheerful chappies appear inside:
can you spot the golliwog twins?

Friday, August 08, 2008


An unbearable reality of present-day life is that as the natural resources of our world are depleted, they become replaced by an environment of manufactured objects, and these industrial artefacts become the raw materials from which we must produce more.

The role of the recycled artist (the bricoleur) is to refashion new visions of our world from its leavings, transforming not only objects but meanings, and introducing new ways of experiencing and imagining our world and ourselves.

In many ways recycling - or the process of borrowing, quoting, and recontextualizing objects, images and ideas - is the best metaphor for the way in which meaning is constructed and understood in our contemporary world.

Art is therefore the process whereby we transform the crudity of our world and make it bearable.

I have made art & craft work from recycled materials all my life, but I am now concentrating on that aspect: hence I have re-invented myself as the Professor of Garbology, with the motto: “Recycled-Reseen. Reused-Resold”.
This year I have been gathering materials seriously (mainly by beachcombing and dumpster diving) on my travels around the North Island.
In July 2008 I entered 5 pieces into a local art show “Paper, Plastic, Packaging”. To my surprise I won first prize (& all the works sold). This small success has provided sufficient encouragement for me to continue on this course of producing art made from, & concerning, the environment, particularly my local environs here on the north shore of Auckland.