How to change everyday recycled materials


So this lesson post is about recycling even the simplest of materials, if you know and understand that that just about anything non organic can successfully be reborn into something else then you were born to be a recycling artist. This post will get you understanding just a few ways that materials can be altered for a new look. Think about the simplest of materials, paper for example, it comes from a tree, gets turned into pulp, then ends up anywhere from a piece of paper to a house brick. Paper can be transferred in numerous ways by millions of people. A writer uses a paper sheet, an artist may use paper pulp to create 3D objects turning them into sculptures, designers use paper to create light covers and novelty dresses. This is how materiality of a material comes into play, it's about taking a material substance and turning into something far reached from what it was, the more you can do that the more successful or interesting your outcome will be. So lets take a look at how to change materials.
Wood is definitely something you can have a lot of fun with, think how you cut it, what happens to it, what about saw dust, it can used to make MDF board sheets or moulded with adhesives to create 3D objects, it can used in craft for decorating, what about wood turning machines, those stair case railings didn't make themselves that pretty.
Process Broken – Breaking the wood with force gave the wood a splintered appearance and a rough texture.
Cut with a saw – Gave the wood a decorative edge that could be useful in making totem poles or tribal poles.
Covered with chalk – Covering the wood in chalk was good as it allowed the grain of the wood to be highlighted but not lost completely.
Wet with oil – Allowed for deeper colour and richer appearance. Belted with a hammer – Added a sense of urgency and fragility to the wood.

Material Investigation – Plastic matting

Process Un-woven – Un weaving the plastic gave it a softened look Sliced with a knife- gave the plastic the look of fragility, in taters, weakened. Sewn – gave the plastic a bitter quality, a look of trying to hard, a sense of immortality so to speak.

Material Investigation - Rope

Process Frayed- Gave the rope a sense of unrest, turmoil, craziness.
Knotted- Gave a sense of closure, a coming together, unity, strength.
Cut with scissors- Gave a whimsical feel, freedom, fluffy, spontaneous.

Material Investigation – Old Record

Process Melted plastic added- gave the record an aged look, the record is a great back drop giving depth to the melted plastic layering.

Paint added- gave a solid surface look, a masking effect, hidden, changing the record from looking like a record to looking like anything that could simply be painted, it is now ordinary.

Scratched with a knife – gave the record more edge and allowed that special record quality to
re-enter .

Melted to reform a basket – The record was melted over a flame and reformed into the shape of a basket, so it has now changed its meaning from a musical item into a fruit bowl.

Material Investigation - Pencil

Shaved - shaving the pencil completely took it to a different level of reading entirely, it is now unable to be drawn with in the traditional sense.

Cut- Cutting the shavings did not alter the appearance or meaning at all, the shavings are now finer cuttings.

Glass resin – Adding the cuttings into a patty pan case and adding glass resin took the cuttings to a completely new meaning again. The cuttings encased in resin now resemble toffee as the pink lead shavings mix colour into the resin. What once was a pencil now looks good enough to eat! What is not captured here is that the wood swelled and when dried this toffee actually looked like a muffin, for real!

Material -Pepsi can

Material -Plastic drinking straws

Straws make great little sculptures, but have there limitations, exploration further could see you joining straws or melting them together for build larger things like outdoor rooms, novelty cars or just about anything.

Material- Old Toys

Idea – to use plastic toys found at the refuse or opp shops and transform them from a child's toy into a sculpture for adults. Concept – Glue toys together using strategically placed toys to fit intricately together in order to showcase the toy at it's best angle and so it fits with the scheme and visual appeal of the structure, but to also promote durability and strength within the sculpture.

Material – Water

Even water can have it's materiality changed, By adding things to the water and freezing it can give very interesting results when photographed, artists have added clothes to water and freezing giant ice blokes such as artist Nicole Dextras www.nicoledextras.com who does amazing things with ice. Just adding simple things like wool (pictured) can bring a beautiful almost symbolic quality to a simple block of ice.

Material - Light

Changing the materiality of light - This can be really fun, you do require an SLR Camera that you can manually change the lens by quickly moving it in and out whilst taking the picture, but the results can be very exciting, and very one of a kind, you will never capture the same image twice. Try settings when there a lot of moving cars and traffics lights, you'll be amazed by the results.
Download this lesson in depth at the top of the lesson if you wish to view the whole lesson content and pictures.


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