Reuse, recycle, redesign!

posted in: Art | 0
Edward Burtynsky
Edward Burtynsky, Densfield Oil Drums #4, Hamilton, Ontario, 1997

Perhaps inspired by my daughter’s field trip to the recycling depot last week, I’ve been more conscious than usual about things we reuse. The depot itself reminded me of the film Manufactured Landscapes, and the related photography of Edward Burtynsky. I was in art school when I got to see Burtynsky’s exhibit and watch Manufactured Landscapes, and I was awestruck by the beautiful images created from man-made materials and waste. If you haven’t had a chance to see Burtynsky’s photos, you have to check them out!


Reuse #1 – Reclaimed wood shelves

We’ve had a crafty sort of autumn around our place. My husband made these lovely shelves out of reclaimed wood, which we have been thinking about doing for a couple of years since we bought our house. I love that he figured out a way to put them up without the shelving support being visible. And I love that we were able to reuse wood that had been discarded when Fort Langley’s walls were replaced last year.

New shelves and recovered chair
New shelves and recovered chair

Reuse #2 – Old furniture

We recently acquired some used furniture from a friend Рin fact most of our furniture is reused. I discovered that reupholstering chair cushions is something a regular person like me can do Рit just requires math and precision Рwhich are not my fort̩, but possible if one really tries, and watches a few youtube videos.

In the process, I learned a thing or two about zippers: for one thing, sewing a zipper into a cushion cover is not that difficult. And secondly, I fixed the zipper on my Smoking Lily skirt that I’ve been wearing with safety pins for a couple years (with a slip, just in case). I spontaneously attempted fixing it last night and succeeded.

homemade sock puppets
Reuse #4 – Dust rags – they make great puppets.

Reuse #3 – No qualms about used clothes

I have rediscovered the joy of thrift store shopping. Some of my favourite clothing pieces are from thrift stores but I haven’t really had time to shop in them since the children were
born. I’ve picked up eleven items this fall for a fraction of their worth. We also have no qualms about reusing children’s clothes and passing them on to others.


antique items
A few of my souveniers from the farm

Reuse #5 – Old photos and “stuff” for artwork.

All this to say I love reusing things! Next challenge: reduce acquiring stuff in the first place. One look at Burtynsky’s recycling images in China, and you’ll understand why. A lot of the stuff we recycle ends up in a pile somewhere.

0 Responses

  1. Great (and beautiful) article, as always. We have watched Manufactured Landscapes as well. Did you get some clothes that I sent with Mom and Dad in Sept? (I keep forgetting to ask) Your shelves and chair looks great!

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