Art from Stuff: The Recycled Décor of Green-Minded Design Students

Recycled wall art
Recycled plastic bottles and aluminum can art

It looks like an expensive piece of original wall art you would find in a trendy, upscale gallery. In fact, it was created by an interior design student at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC as part of an Annual Habitat for Humanity fundraiser.

The creative collection you see here is actually eight Lazy Susan cabinet inserts found in the kitchen section of the Winston-Salem ReStore. Aspiring interior designer, Jill Shirley created this wall art from material that might otherwise have been tossed into a landfill. She hand-painted the black edges and random circular patterns and added some inspirational words in 3D wood letters. Awesome. I just wish I’d snatched it up myself before a Winston-Salem ad agency beat me to the punch.

Speaking of landfills, we all know how horrible plastic bottles are for the environment, right? As soon as we’ve drained that last drop of Diet Coke, we never want to see it again. That is unless it is reincarnated as a colorful accessory like these amazing plastic “wild flowers” that Forsyth Tech student Ingrid Simmons makes, which were also part of the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. Ingrid uses the bottoms of plastic bottles to make these flowers, which look great just sitting in bowl on a table. Ingrid has also used plastic bottles to create decorative light fixtures.

Recycled stuff. Creative students. Cheap art. What’s not to love? I have to say I was so impressed with the talent demonstrated by these students that I’ve decided to commission a little custom artwork of my own. What I love about the idea of working with design students on a commissioned project is that the art is meaningful.

I admit I’ve bought my share of cheap, imported, mass produced art because it fit the space and had the right colors, but it always feels like empty calories to me. The truth is, my favorite works of art are those that remind me something or someone special. A poster that my husband and I bought during our first and only trip to the Kentucky Derby. An original chorus line of colorful fashion divas that my daughter drew using nothing but felt tip pens and her imagination. A signed C.W. Anderson print of a mare and foal grazing which my father bought me at the NC State Fair when I was no more than six years old.

Live with meaningful art for a while and you’ll never go back to the imports.

I look forward to sharing what these design students come up with and I encourage others to think out of the box (and landfill) when it comes to art. What you or someone else creates could be priceless.




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