Trash or Treasure?

This past week I have had the opportunity to experiment, create and explore the vast possibilities trash can be reused. Many Artist’s that have inspired my own experimental efforts into this area have included a global community that I have come to know online. One I truly admire is Xenobia Bailey and it’s very refreshing to see someone like her – with all her talents and skills and high profile – not sell her soul out like so many “precious” wanna-be so called Artist’s these days.

In keeping up with Xenobia’s aesthetics and ingenious use of trash in transforming waste into object’s of beauty and meaning, I decided to see what I could come up with when faced with the same challenge of dealing with waste on a domestic level.

Xenobia in her own words describes growing up with a mother who would make flowers out of fashion magazines and place the arrangement on the table as a way to decorate a kitchen table.

I myself can relate childhood memories of similar experiences, I remember going on an epic 3 month holiday to Tonga with my family as an 9 year old and going back to my mother’s village. There I discovered that many of the homes there contained soda can flowers that would often adorn the walls. It came down to money, the people there did not go to Anthropologie or The Pottery Barn, for starters they wouldn’t of been able to afford to do so. They just made do with what they had. Lei’s were made of candy wrappers, so were bags, drums were fashioned from old cabin bread cracker tins, coconut oil was collected and squeezed from copra and then decanted into old glass tabasco bottles or quench juice bottles. It was amazing actually, they threw nothing away because they had very little to throw away in the first place.

I have fond memories of my Grandma who would save all the 5-10 kg rice sacks, carefully undoing all the threading so she could then use this fibre to crochet really beautiful and detailed bags out of them. Candy wrappers were often cut and folded to form flower “buds” and then threaded together to make “lei’s”.

Years later here I am trying to carry on the same kind of resourceful craft of making something out of nothing.

I also needed containers to store craft item’s, brushes, pens, glue sticks and we had a lot of PET bottles built up from the holiday season so I just used a hot glue gun to put all these ‘cannisters’ together, again scrap fabric came in handy.

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I really like the green bottles because they add color to my creations and I had about 4 of these so I experimented and made a warrior neckpiece and a container with lid to store them in (really easy peasy, just cut the bottom’s of 2 PET bottles and voila! – a new storage container with lid). I used the new storage container to put all the cut pieces I made for the neckpiece. I also noticed that my desk felt a little bare so I spruced it up by adding a “Pot plant” below.

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 I also came across a neckpiece which I’ve made quite some time ago using recycled denim jean’s. I currently have this neckpiece as my first item selling on ETSY, however I must warn you at the moment my shop is a little bare because of lack of stock. I had an ETSY shop for some years but it was so hard finding the time to keep at it and also I was working a cubicle job which almost killed all the creative energy and Artist’s spirit so I closed that (with all the bad memories) and had a fresh start. Please feel free to check it out, it won’t be bare for long – shop name is AlexisColby.

Photo on 2012-09-18 at 13.32 Photo on 2012-09-18 at 13.31 #3 Photo on 2012-09-18 at 13.31 #2

Lastly I recently got into recycling orange bags and of all things electrical tape, again money was not an option so searching the house for things to use for more jewelry pieces led me to netting bags for produce. Below is the finished product, the netting inside when worn doesn’t scratch upon your skin like one would imagine, it’s actually really soft and comfortable to wear.

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Ok well I guess today has been a post of epic proportions and finally being able to update my blog with positive thoughts, feelings and best of all handmade stuff that have come straight from the heart – makes me feel like that song by Christina Anu:

You touch me with your spirit, you touch me with your heart
You touch me in the darkness, I feel it start…

Make me feel, make me feel, so unreal, so unreal
Like a wind in the desert, like a moon on the sea

Sunshine on a rainy day
Makes my soul, makes my soul, trip, trip, trip away…

Stay Bold People! PEACE…I’m out!


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