Recycled by design exhibition – transforming waste into art

Filed in Blog by on September 22, 2008 2 Comments
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guitars made from recycled yogurt pots
Mr Green grew up in Guildford and has been promising me the ‘one day’ visit down memory lane so I can see where he spent his childhood.

Now there might be the perfect excuse for a jaunt around Surrey as I have discovered there is a “Recycled by Design” exhibition on at the Guildford House Gallery! Emma, over on a forum I take part on told us about the exhibition as she visited last week.

It runs from now until 11th October, is free to get in and boasts an exhibition of recycled art and design.

With initial inspiration from Guildford Borough Council’s recycling department, Recycled By Design explores the creative potential of recycling in the visual arts.

The guitars pictured are made from yogurt pots and plastic bottles. As well as beautiful objects of art there are practical things like jewellery made from bottle tops and great gift ideas such as teddy bears made from old Fair Isle jumpers.

Emma saw animal wall head trophies made from papier mache, rugs made out of off-cuts of plastic, a cardboard wardrobe; cushions made from washing instruction labels/designer labels, sculptures made out of washing machine drums, huge pictures made by melting down mobile phone fascias, a chair made from old wellington boots (her daughter’s personal favourite!), utterly beautiful wall hangings made from recycled textiles, and if that’s not enough, there was a dress made by a local student from bubble wrap, paper and train tickets.

It’s not just a pretty exhibition though; it carries a serious message. School children and students are being asked by the Recycling Project coordinator to submit work to the show. In addition local artists are being asked to put forward ideas for projects to raise awareness of recycling and its impact on climate change. Yay!

The aim of the exhibition, as well as raising awareness of recycling through contemporary arts is to give added value to items which have been discarded. It serves as a starting block for other community initiatives.

Throughout the showcase you can take part in paper making workshops and join in with a creative recycled estate agent boardsdemonstration day. Other artists will work with groups including schools and day centres to run design workshops. The project, which has been going on since the Spring, has given young people in Surrey the chance to work with professional artists on a theme that is vital and timely.

In addition to the exhibition at the Guildford House gallery, there will be a programme of temporary installations at The Lightbox, which is Woking’s new gallery and museum, throughout the Autumn. This will display the best of art and design in recycling media.

The installations will be transforming the versatile non-gallery spaces of the Lightbox with their contemporary pieces of artwork created from discarded materials.

Lucy Fergus is is creating ‘re-silicone‘ using a combination of industrial waste rubber silicone off-cuts and LED lights.

Jane Ponsford is showing pieces made with the Junior Art School education project and is hosting the paper making workshop.

Nick Sayers, will install a spherical shelter made from estate agent boards; which I LOVE! I can imagine these becoming great toys for kids instead of plastic playhouses!

Tim Gentry is creating site-specific structures using natural materials, which will ‘grow’ over time.

And Paul Matosic is installing a recycled structure, using found objects.

Wow; I’m no artist; I don’t think I have an artistic fibre in my being, but I love hearing about these creations and seeing the visiaul impact of them. Art speaks to people in different ways and anything that helps get the message across of recycling, reuse, finding ‘value’ in our discarded stuff or turning ‘trash into treasure’ gets my vote.
So if you’re around Guildford over the next few weeks, why not visit and let us know what you think?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (2)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    The artful use of various waste items is an admirable trend. My favourite is the re-silicone. Lucy has made fascinating designs with the light combinations a stand-out.
    Jewellery use is another and could become a fashion icon.

    The billboard structure looks like a giant wasps nest, ideal for a horror movie.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John,
    I think it’s great. I’ve never been an arty person – I just see a painting and I either like it or I don’t. For many years installations and sculptures have just been another language that I do not understand.
    But as I was researching and writing this I began to see how important art is for getting messages across. Just as music or words can move us to change, so can a dramatic work of art.
    I hope the exhibition is a great success.

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