Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meet Jane the Recycling Artist

Who wants everything in their house to look like everything in your neighbor's house. One of the things I want to focus on with this blog is finding alternative ways to buy things. One of the best ways I think to do this is to buy handmade items from the artist that made them. This is nothing but a win/win situation, for both you and the craftsperson. Occasionally, on this blog I will be highlighting such craftspeople and showcasing some of their work. I will also give you information to be able to buy from that artist personally. The craftspeople that I will highlight on this blog will all be creating their products in an ecofriendly way. But I'll let them tell you about that.

The first artist I'd like to highlight is Jane. She's a wonderful artist that I met on Etsy and is part of my Trashion team. She makes lots of wonderful jewelry and stuffed animals made from recycled material. I did an interview with her for this blog.

Tell us a little about how you got started making art?

In Lost & Found Objects 2 I create recycled, upcycled and assemblage jewelry. I couple discarded bits from daily life and create new, funky, sometimes funny, jewelry. I also sew dolls from found stuff and make collage from my own handmade paper and found objects. I get a charge out of using things overlooked and under appreciated by others. I have been working with recycled materials for over 20 years, at first because I had no money and then later (even though I still have no money) because that is all that interests me. I think I like the extra challenge of working with what is available and I congratulate myself on finding uses for things normally thrown away.

What kind of art do you get excited making?

I love assemblage. I love that the items I find to incorporate have a history to them. This creates more depth and layers of meaning. I get a charge out of that. I love Joseph Cornell's work and Robert Rauschenberg.

How did you become interested in using recycled and reclaimed materials in your artwork and jewelry?

I studied Art at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, IL where I received a MFA in Fibers and Art History, but more than anything I have been a scavenger, squirreling away things I find that appeal to me.

For over a decade I have directed an arts program at Patchwork Central in inner city Evansville, IN. I enjoy making art with the children from the neighborhood, who often bring me cool items they find themselves in walking through our city’s streets. I like to feel I am helping to create a new generation of redeemers who will look at life in new creative ways. 10% of the proceeds form my shop goes to support free art programs for inner city kids at Patchwork Central. See for more information.

Anyway, we live and work in a low income area in Indiana, and that makes for some great opportunities to find cool broken stuff- especially when you walk form place to place rather than drive.

It is from this cool stuff either the kids find for me or I find myself that my ideas, art and jewelry come from.

Do you have a favorite thing to recycle into something new?

I get really excited about finding a resource that is abundant! and figuring out a good way to reuse it. I have been collecting bits of this and that, old junk drawer kind of stuff, broken things, shiny things, stuff I find on the street while walking. There is nothing like the patina of a partially rusted,

partially shiny smashed bottle cap or piece of metal - run over by cars with the pavement texture ground into it. Yeah!! <:0)

The metal from soda pop cans are my current passion. All my items are well washed and sealed if need be:) In my neckpieces I combine lost keys, worn buttons, seashells, small toys, vintage costume jewelry and hardware with interesting semiprecious stone and glass beads - redeeming these objects for a new life.

My current passion is for old silverware and bicycle tire innertubes. I just found a treasure trove of beautiful Silver plate forks and spoons. I am excited to see what will become of them. My last batch became a bunch of brooches with animal heads attach and the tines from the forks turned into antlers.

Where would we look to see your art for sale?

I have both handmade plush monsters from recycled materials at and assemblage jewelry I also have a shop at . Or if you are in the area I have items at Artifacts in Indianapolis, The City Museum in St. Louis, Swanson Reed Gallery In Louisville, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art in New Harmony, IN and at ArtWorks Gallery in Evansville, IN (

I noticed that you work with the arts program at Patchwork Central in Evansville, IN and even give part of your proceeds to this organization. Could you tell us a little about the program?

It began when a couple of couples decided they wanted to try to make a difference with their lives and start a new work in a neighborhood where they believed they might be able

to help bring reconciliation. These three young couples had a vision to live, work and worship together in the area near downtown Evansville, Indiana. Half of the group were visual artists and they used their talents to reach out to others, problem solve and build community. I like that. It is still what we try to do over 30 years later.

Today, Patchwork Central continues its outreach to Evansville area neighborhoods with a food pantry and many unique children’s programs. As part of the community fabric, Patchwork Central changes the lives of those it serves by giving them a sense of hope, a place of acceptance, and a bright outlook for the future.

From the beginning, worship was combined with service. Patchwork’s programs and ministries have included neighborhood gardening, health and dental services for the poor, after-sc

hool programs for at-risk children, a Neighborhood Economic Development Center, a bakery, hospitality housing for women, men’s residency program, a food pantry, community Bible studies, and the Center for Community Renewal. We invite and welcome all who wish to join us as we walk forward, working, playing, worshipping and serving together.

You can learn more about Patchwork Central at

Any final thoughts?

Life is short. Find our what matters most and pursue it with all you've got in you. That is good advice. I am trying to take it myself. :o)

1 comment:

  1. I've loved Jane's art since first seeing it on Etsy.