Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recycling Done the Junk Afficianado's Way

Junk, stuff laying around, scraps, pieces of things you might need some day, and recyclable materials are all fine things in my book. My eyes light up when a new scrap pile is discovered, and my heart skips a beat when someone mentions cleaning out their junk drawer. Ah, the potential!
You can probably tell that my favorite method of recycling is adapting old material for new uses. We do collect tin cans, milk jugs, soda bottles, aluminum cans, glass jars, cardboard, paperboard, and newspaper to turn into Clean and Green for mass recycling into reusable material. But this sculptor always sighs at the thought of all the potential art material I am carting to the recycling center or feeding to the frog (that's the gimmick behind the green paper recycling dumpster at Irvington Grade School) when I could be repurposing it myself.
Yes, I have tried recycling glass bottles by melting them, but I didn't quite get the hang of it. There are still plenty of bottles on my work table, though, and I will try again. The problem is twofold: 1. because you can't know for certain the Coefficient of Expansion of the glass in two different bottles, you can't mix glass from different bottles into one piece (well, you can, but then it will crack) and 2. because I wanted to do something "different" and was trying to keep the bottom of the bottles intact while also melting a flowing curved line around broken tops to make a glass or cup. Once again, it all comes down to practicing what you want to accomplish.
Tin cans and aluminum soda cans are even more intriguing to me, and I have spent a good part of this week unsuccessfully tinkering and fiddling with them. Oh, yeah, I remember the soda can crochet purses and hats from the 1970's. . .but heck, I want to do my own thing, even if someone else has already done the same thing on their own (I'm a pretty big believer in this duality of creativity-- you must try to create your own unique style while keeping in mind that other people have done the same and may have stumbled upon the same "unique" styles).
What have I accomplished with my tinkering and fiddling? Not much. Hey, I did say "unsuccessfully tinkering and fiddling". I've used auto body hammers and dollies. I've finally figured out the right-hand, left-hand, and straight tin snips. I've dug out the soldering iron and copper foil, recycling those stained glass project materials. I have one hanging sculpture to show for it, and I'm not sure it's finished yet. That's it in the picture. See the slightly ribbed background for the plaster face? That would be a baby whole carrots can, a chicken noodle soup can,and a whole green beans can. Know what? I think I could work nonstop for seven days and still not get those ribs completely flattened! So much for that idea.
Back to the drawing board for the soda cans, too. While the tin cans seem too hard to reshape, the aluminum cans seem too soft. I had visions of stacking layers of aluminum, pushing out noses and cheekbones, and pushing in eye sockets and dimples to make faces. Taunting visions is what they are.
It seems I am writing this solely to justify my week of experimenting. Heck, I've spent plenty of weeks making crappy glass, all in the name of experimenting and learning. . .and was proud to admit it. So why am I feeling so crummy about my lack of results this particular week? Hmmm. Who am I to expect miraculous results with a minimum of effort? Back to the drawing board for me.
Yep, I'm feeling the need to melt some glass real soon. I can't take nonstop failure :)


Deb said...

Hey Ang - you sound like you have had fun...& that's the main thing, right?

You know I think the main problem of any experiments we attempt in the 'art' sense is actually not the result of what we have attempted - rather it is our own 'expectations' of what we want to achieve ;o)

See, personally - I like the ribs!

Ellen said...

hmmmm, how to say this without hurting one's feelings? Let's see. Ok, here goes. Until you said that was a "face" on the tin background, I had no idea what it was. Now, clearly a face but - beforehand, I thought it was something from the dog pen.

angelinabeadalina said...

LOL, Ellen, that's why I didn't like those pictures!! In person, it's a cracked up piece of an ancient face, but you're right about it not coming through at all in the pics!

Deb, I kinda like the bit of ribbing left, too, but it ticked me off because I was trying to make it flat.

Hey, tomorrow starts a new week, right?? :) :) (actually, I guess today did, but I was busy cooking pancakes and bacon, then getting ready to go to a birthday party, etc.

rosebud101 said...

Ang, I love how you work with junk! You make the unusable into wonderful works of art.


Oh, Angie ... I'm glad to (finally) see the face in your picture. You should have seen my face while staring at your blog (I almost .... up!). Next thing was I started to calm myself down ... hey it's a wonderful cookie ... she's NOT taking care of a dog ... :)

Glad that I had some time to check on your blog today. The time before X-mas is always pretty busy.

Feel yourself hugged,


Studio Marcy - Marcy Lamberson said...

Ang, I love reading your blog. You can come raid my overfilled house anytime for new junk. Hon, I've got it and it needs a new home. Bring a BIG van with you.


angelinabeadalina said...

Hi,Mallory and PEtra!

Marcy, if I could make it to Atlanta and back before the kids get out of school and Ricky gets home from work, you know I would :) (Not just to raid junk, either-- it would be fun to talk, talk, torch, talk some more...)