Monday, August 16, 2010

Upcycle: A Small Ecological Footprint

The City of Edmonton Reuse Centre    Photo: Margaret Braun
I have a strong sense and commitment to reducing my ecological footprint as a matter of daily practice.  

I come by it honestly.  My family are a creative and skilled group of Europeans who have been upcycling and repurposing as a way of life  throughout the generations.  I continue to believe in this practice and embody it in my art.   

Although upcycled art is the newest trend -- from potters to painters, from fine art to cottage crafts, artists and craftspeople have been doing this for years.  

Divine by Margaret Braun   Photo: Margaret Braun
The City of Edmonton established the Reuse Centre in 2007.  It accepts various items, free of charge, and makes available to organizations and individuals items that are not accepted for reuse elsewhere.  

I first learned about the Reuse Centre from artist and illustrator Crystal Driedger.  It is a unique place for artists.  I have discovered satin, silks, cotton, blouse and upholstery fabrics for the foundation of my drawings.  Beads, paints, jewelery, paper, crayons, fibres, wax, wire, wallpaper, buttons, thread, leather, needles, sequins, shells and yarn have made their way into my work.  
It is exciting to discover these discards that seemingly have little value.  Turning "nothing" into something results in beauty, resurrecting these undervalued materials with new vitality.  When placed in another contextual application, they experience a new genesis, bringing attention, significance and an elan vital.  I enjoy exploring a variety of materials to discover how they relate to one another, co-exist and merge together to create a dialogue.

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