Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A material which is freely & easily available in quantity is the plastic core flute which is used for real estate signs.
I cut one up into a couple of fish shapes. they are about 2 feet or 60cm long. Once I figured out that the shape was more dynamic when cut on an angle the fish came alive!
Later I will cut some more & maybe make a mobile with them.
See more of my recycled and upcycled works at

Monday, September 15, 2008

Recycled Tiki Art

On Saturday I drove to South Auckland to the Polynesian suburb of Otara where there is a big market on Saturday mornings.
I bought this funky recycled tiki at one of the jewellery stalls. There is a lot of paua-shell jewellery for sale, & evidently stocks of this shell are being depleted. Some enterprising person has come up with the idea of using chips of shell left over from the cutting process - they have made a mould, mixed the paua chips with fibreglass & cast the image.
I was also amused to see this flag flying above a stall selling contact lenses!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recycled Jandal Mobile Art

This mobile is for sale at Buana Satu in K Rd.

"As the natural resources of our world are depleted, they become replaced by an environment of manufactured objects, and in turn these industrial artefacts become the raw materials from which we must produce more. For many people this crude reality is unbearable. The role of the recycled artist 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. Art is therefore the process whereby we can transform the crudeness of reality and make our world bearable."
-adapted from “The Recycling Strategies of Self-Taught Artists” by J Cubbs & EW Metcalf
in “Recycled Re-Seen - Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap” by Charlene Cerny

See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trash Trash & More Trash

This week is annual inorganic rubbish collection time in my area. People can put out almost any rubbish which is too large to go into their weekly bin.
I have had great fun driving round in my van picking stuff out for use in recycled artworks.
There is lots of stuff to look at and make selections from. There are some things I am looking for for projects (flip-flops & CD’s), otherwise my rule-of-thumb is “what in this pile has sculptural qualities?” - this takes an imaginative ‘eye’ - & hopefully I am getting better at it.
Ideal finds include anything with “kiwina-kitsch” connotations - unfortunately these are hard to come by, tho I did find this little folk-art kiwi.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recycled Art from Egg Cartons

Working with these flowers cut from egg cartons found in dumpsters is good fun. I have used the back of real-estate signs as the background for these pieces - the flowers are attached with screws.

See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Funky Face

This face is on a small canvas [2inx3in] & was put together in a few seconds. The pieces are not fixed down so I can play with the image infinitely. This is the beauty of digital photography with this sort of art...the assemblage is ephemeral...the photograph is the artwork.
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Recycled art - Golliwogs

I now have two golliwogs in my collection - the chappie on the left was my Mother’s...he lived at the top of the stairs for many years & looks like he was made from recycled wool. The cheerful fellow on the right is new - I bought him at my local charity shop. They are having a great time together & I am looking everywhere for more!
Maybe I will have to make some?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Matau - Maori Fish-Hook

This fish-hook is about 2 ft high & is cut out a piece of copper sheet from a hot-water cylinder I found in the kerbside collection. I have painted it black & am thinking of bronzing or gilding it???
In Maori mythology the super-human trickster Maui fished up the North Island from the sea.
The traditional names for this island group commemmorate this feat:
The North Island is Te Ikaroa-a-Maui (“The Long Fish of Maui”).
The South Island is Te Waka-a-Maui (“The Canoe of Maui”).
Stewart Island in the far south is the legendary anchor of our hero’s canoe: Te Punga-a-Maui, while the Mahia Peninsula in the east is identified as Maui’s fish-hook: Te Matau-a-Maui.
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Metal “Pour”

When I was in Napier last summer I spent time out at Haumoana beach, just south of Napier.
(“hau” = wind/breath, “moana” = sea/ “breath/breathing of the ocean” I guess)
There is no sand here on this rugged west coast shore - but zillions of small black pebbles instead. The waves roll them up & down the steep beach......& the sound is amazing, just like the sea breathing in & out. I took a short video too, & love to listen to it with the sound up LOUD!
One day I drove the van onto the beach & when I jumped out - this incredible piece of art was right at my feet. People had lit a bonfire & thrown pieces of thin alloy metal from a car into the flames - which melted & later solidified into this fabulous amorphous shape.
On the back of the piece are stuck hundreds of stones from the beach....a great memento of my happy beach combing days at Haumoana.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pull-tab Figure

I I made this motorcycle from beer bottle pull-tabs found in the trash a short while ago.
Yesterday, Blake, the 9 year-old boy from next door, came to visit - he loves to help me unload the van & see what I have found in my wanderings....after we unloaded my haul, he asked if he could make something from my pull-tab collection; & in 5 minutes he had sellotaped this figure together! - I think it’s fantastic..he really has a gift for assemblage - another budding bricoleur!!
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at


Last week I found a video on Alexander Calder in the library. What most intrigued me was the graceful way his gigantic mobiles danced in space - the static images in books give no hint of this beauty.
Another aspect I found interesting was the fact that the connecting wires are not all straight, as one sees in most commercial versions of this art form, in contrast Calder’s wires curve aerodynamically.
Yesterday I bought some suitable wire & got to work.....& it’s not that easy!!
As a jeweller, small constructions appeal to me, so I tried my hand on a miniature scale using discs cut from plastic bottle tops, & then some plastic tiki from the souvenir shop.....I was quite pleased with the results, & am at present working on a larger version for submission to an art competition.
A slight breath sets the pieces into action - spinning & bobbing. and under a directed light they cast the most fantastic shadows on the wall.
I look forward to making videos of this poetry in motion.
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Sunday, September 07, 2008

No Bull

I found these bicycle parts in a dumpster recently. The wires are the brake cables - I am not sure whether to leave them on or cut them off? I kind of like them.
A possible title for this piece is “No Bull” - references to Picasso’s original sculpture & Magritte’s “This is not a pipe” being intentional.
Otherwise it could be a “Recyclabull”?

See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Save the Planet - or is it too late?

Another of my entries in the Mairangi Arts show was a board game with a “save the planet from yourself” theme. I tore images from magazines & glued them onto a piece of foam-core I found. The work sold - tho now I almost wish it hadn’t....I would have liked to look at it for a while longer!
See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at
See more culture jamming and adbusting at

Recycled Kiwiana

I have been continuing to make jewellery - & my latest range is made from kitsch items of Kiwi (NZ) tourist culture. The tiki earrings here are made from plastic tiki from the tourist shops..I have painted them gold & given them red eyes. My artist friend Mere Keating in Wanganui ( bought some jewellery from me when I visited in March to sell in her gallery at the Mungamahu Hotel. Recently some of Mere’s flax weaving featured in a fashion show at the Sargent Gallery in Wanganui, & she chose my tiki as accessories: thanks to Elle for modelling them.

See more of my trashion as well as recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Recycled robot #2

This robot has an old metal toaster for a body, which I found in a skip.
His antennae is a toy helicopter. Attached to the back of his head is a toy telephone which works! - When you press the buttons it either beeps or a metallic voice says “Hello....Leave a message at the sound of the beep...Goodbye”.

See more of my recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Recycled jewellery

These plastic fish are soy sauce bottles which I found locally in the trash.
I have filled them with electric-green beads.

See more of my trashion pieces as well as recycled, upcycled and environmental works at

Bottle-top “throw”

Last summer I spent a few days at Lake Taupo (an enormous volcanic crater-lake in the center of the North Island). Early one morning I went down to the lake’s shore to look for pumice for jewellery & sculptures. In the car park I found several bottle caps discarded by drinkers the night before, I gathered them up & threw them onto a rock by the lake’s edge & took this photo.
To me the pic says a lot about the thoughtless disposal of rubbish.