Recycled Materials in Art

I make lampworked glass beads. This summer, I have been having  fun making beads from recycled glass I find on the street.  I use colbalt blue wine bottles and aqua colored Bombay Sapphire Gin bottles. Trash day is like a shopping spree only I don’t need any money! What could be better?

There is a rich tradition around the world of using recycled materials to make art. Most art from recycled materials comes from so-called Third World Countries. The patchwork quilt is the one we are most familiar with in the United States.   As we become more of a throw away society,  however, the recycled materials movement has found its way to our affluent shores.

Here are three links where you can find more art made from recycled materials. Happy dumpster diving!

Indigo Arts
Oakland Museum of California

9 responses to “Recycled Materials in Art

  1. I love those beads! Are you selling them anywhere? Have you tried using the more common bottles, like brown beer bottles?

    I am an artist on the left coast who is totally into art from recycled materials, there are lots of artists in the USA who use reclaimed stuff.

    I blog about art and artists who use recycled materials on Olympia Dumpster Divers

    ps get your stepson Maxwell to help you hyper link your links on your blog!

    love, etc Ruby

  2. LOL! I do know how to do hyperlinks but I got lazy.
    Thanks for your kind comments. I haven’t been selling these
    beads. I want to make some seaglass jewelry. I will
    probably throw the beads in a rock tumbler after I
    anneal them and see what I get. I love the blue and green, so I haven’t tried brown.
    Your site is way kewl! I love your baskets.

  3. Hi ! Just getting interested in recycled material for beads…lemme know how exactly you recycle this glass to make it into bead form. They’re beautiful !

  4. These are lamp worked beads. I cut the glass from the bottles into strips or break it into small pieces (safety glasses and gloves, please!) and melt it with my minor bench burner torch, wind the glass around the mandrels, shape it with a marver, cool it in a fiber blanket and anneal it in a kiln.

  5. LOL I love the glass beads! I live in a small South Dakota “town” that has a long history of recycling. Partly out of necessity & partly out of creative desire. We’ve got an artist here who makes sculpture from recycled materials, including car body metal, but it doesn’t look like “junk art”! Its chic and yet “green”. His work can be checked out at

  6. Pingback: Jewels from the Sidewalk « Ornamento·

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