Month: May 2013

Bottle top art with Mary Ellen Croteau

“I firmly believe in the power of the visual, and my work is my voice: a social critique and a visual challenge to all the cultural detritus we are force-fed every day.  My art is about looking at things in a slightly different way, and is intended to undermine the status quo with wit and humor.”  Mary Ellen Croteau. When Chicago artist, Mary Ellen Croteau, decided to make an artistic statement using unwanted plastic bottle caps little did she know quite where it would lead her. She initially wanted to make a column reminiscent of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s modernist work – which she did – but then she got side-tracked by portraiture. The colour combinations she could make with the caps reminded her of a Chuck Close portrait painting (which are amazing – see his work here). And so that’s what she did. She made a large (2.5 x 2 metre) portrait of herself. An incredible likeness constructed entirely from collected bottle caps. She since went on to make a portrait of her eye. And …

Interview: Sarah Marafie and her upcycled ceramic jewellery

Today I’d like to introduce British jewellery designer, Sarah Marafie, who forages for fragments of old porcelain that has been buried in the earth or washed up by rivers to make delicate pieces of jewellery. Some of her finds can even date back as far as the 18th century! Falling in love with her work, I was intrigued by her creative process and ceramic collection and wanted to find out more. What I didn’t expect to learn was the extraordinarily serendipitous – or, some might say, spookily fateful – story about the meaning behind her business name, Boodi Blu … Tell me about your background – what did you study and did you always want to be a jewellery designer? I was born in Kuwait and grew up there until I was 18. My dad is Kuwaiti and my mum English. I came over to England to go to art school. Now, I live and work in Hackney, East London. I had always done painting and drawing but then decided to study fashion styling and photography. …

Mason Jars for all Occasions

“Treat your love like a firefly, like it only gets to shine for a little while.  Catch it in a mason jar, with holes in the top, and run like hell to show it off.”  [American country singer, Miranda Lambert] I love Mason Jars. I mean, who doesn’t? And they don’t just have to be used for pickling. Look at all the ways you can use them  … Images from left to right: Mason jar chandelier via Pinterest The Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker from Who’d Have Thought? Outdoor hanging mason jar vases via Pinterest Cutesy sewing containers-cum-pin cushions via Martha Stewart Mason jar herb garden via Camille Styles Tea light holders via Tiny White Daisies Pink lemonade receptacles via Pawleys Island Posh Painted mason jar vases via Pinterest  

Pedal Power

What do you do with crapped out bicycles nobody wants anymore? You turn them into pedal power. A Guatemalan NGO in San Andrés Itzapa, called Maya Pedal, reconditions donated bicycles to make a whole raft of pedal-powered machines they call Bicimaquinas, which are designed to help local communities in all sorts of ways that would normally require electricity or hand power. These Bicimaquinas range from a mobile water pump to a bicycle nut sheller, a kitchen blender (yep!) and a bicycle mill/corn thresher. They are easy to maintain, produce no pollution, free the user from rising energy costs and provide exercise. What a great idea! Maya Pedal relies on the help and work of a mix of locals and volunteers in their Guatemalan workshop and their goal is to be …“a center of pedal power research and development and an information resource for NGO’s promoting appropriate technology and small scale, sustainable agriculture.” It’s also got me thinking about the developed world with its rising obesity and rising costs of electricity … Can you see where I’m going here? …