America recycles! Torpedo Factory artists turn castoffs into art

Since 1997, communities across the country have recognized November 15 as America Recycles Day, a chance to educate the public about the ways we can literally remake the world around us.

As sponsors and partners organize fun and informative events for children and adults alike, the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association invites you to stop by and meet artists for whom recycling has long been a way of life. You’ll be inspired to turn salvaged or cast-off objects into beautiful things every day of the year.

Alicia Roman: resin earrings
with words, gears, and gold paper
with carnelian beads

Alicia Roman, studio 226:
Alicia Roman readily admits “an attraction to mundane odds-and-ends with character and age.” Candy wrappers, discarded gears, rusty metal, the holographic strips on cut-up credit cards—anything is potentially wearable. “I think twice before throwing most anything away,” Roman says, “and just when I think I’m sure I can toss it, my husband will say: ‘Can’t you use that in your jewelry?'”

Lisa Schumaier:
Altoids Theater

Lisa Schumaier, studio 16:
Trained to bring form out of rough, raw materials, Lisa Schumaier regards found and recycled objects with a sculptor’s eye. Discarded bottle caps shine again as eye-catching magnets, wads of chewing gum burst in a mosaic of color, and a conglomeration of Altoids tins, cigar boxes, and beer tabs become a fantastic, diorama-like theater.

Alison Sigethy: Tropical
Sea Core Bubble Tube

Alison Sigethy, studio 307:
Alison Sigethy’s luminous Sea Core Bubble Tubes don’t just pay tribute to the natural world; they also help preserve it. Many of the organic-looking shapes inside each tube are actually reshaped pieces of structural glass, which usually ends up in landfills. Sigethy tracks it down and gives it new life in kinetic, water-filled sculptures that appear colorfully, delightfully alive.

Tamara Embrey: Crazy Colors
Flounces Skirt

Tamara Embrey, studio 14:
Having designed clothing for more than 20 years, Tamara Embrey is delighted that recycling is finally in fashion. Every one-of-a-kind outfit she creates implicitly combines careful design with her concern for the environment—and an awareness that recycling keeps us acutely conscious of the past. “Fiber is able to ‘remember’ not just its former shape and function,” Embrey explains, “but some of the personality and essence not just of its former life as a sweater, but of the person who once wore—and perhaps loved—it.”

“LuLu” by Jackie Ehle Inglefield

Jackie Ehle Inglefield, studio 318:

At Arts Safari, a human whirlwind led dazzled kids in turning bits of plastic into art. That was Jackie Ehle Inglefield, who twists and reshapes wire hangers, coffee-cup lids, and other detritus to make eye-catching creatures, from large dogs for hotel lobbies to whimsical tabletop mice. In Inglefield’s hands, junk takes on a unique new beauty: Lit from behind, some of her work glows like mottled shards of stained glass.

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