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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Eco-Artists

BY LISA CHRISTIAN

Metal car parts, blown glass, license plates and wine bottles – some of the materials these Arizona-based artists are using for their expression. We encourage you to support local art and partake in art walks!

 

Rock the Timepiece
These concrete art wall clocks will keep you rock-solid on time, and in eco-style. Made from one concrete—and accented with found objects such as reclaimed metal car parts and pieces of glass, creator Christine Cassano combines fun and function. Hand-made clocks available from $100 – $225.

 

Drink from the Bottle
Hard-partying recyclers, take heart. So you’ve polished off a few bottles at your favorite wine bar like Postino or La Boca—rest assured that, thanks to glass artist Ray DelMuro, your used bottles aren’t polluting our planet. DelMuro turns empty bottles into mod glassware, some glasses even boasting a bottle’s original “punt,” the conical indent in the bottom of a wine bottle. DelMuro estimates he’s saving more than 16,000 bottles per month from the landfill, all collected from local wine bars and restaurants. Colors and sizes can be mixed and matched, with pitchers and vases available. Glass sets from $25 – $30 make a perfect gift for the Mad Men fan in your life.

 

Pendant or Plate?
Just in time for the comeback of ‘70s fashion, Phoenix-based jewelry maker Cynthia Caldwell has created a line of bracelets and pendants made from used license plates. One part whimsy, one part retro, these statement pieces are as unique as they are stylish and eco-chic. Slip-on and cuff bracelet styles show off state names, while pendants feature smaller symbols and icons from license plates. If you have a fondness for a particular state, Caldwell can often locate the license plate and hand-craft a piece to your specifications. Bracelets and pendants from $30 – $50.

 

Bye, Bye Birdie
Flying a different direction, Caldwell is also known for her small, fanciful bird pendants. Made from glass cast-offs from her artist husband’s blown glass projects, Caldwell embellishes the birds with found objects, giving each piece its own personality. The birds hang from silver chains and conjure a peaceful vibe, sure to make both the wearer and admirers smile. $50.

 

 

Home Dec Rx
If your newly redecorated room looks good, but not fabulous, you might be suffering from hotel lobby syndrome, a.k.a. lack of personality. We prescribe a quick cure from Phoenix-based artist Andrew Seiferth, who resurrects found objects that bring soul and a sophisticated, recycled aesthetic into your home. A coffee table made from an old door (functioning door knob or hinge still attached), with stylish metal legs fashioned from a bed frame might sound junky, but looks classically modern in Seiferth’s design. Check out the metal planter made from an old microwave, or the garden boxes fashioned from used wooden furniture. No reclamation project is too great a challenge for this artist. Pieces range from $90 – $400.

 

Gardeners a-Buzz
Looking for a gift for the green gardener in your life? Consider a solid bee habitat made from reclaimed wood and found objects by Tucson-based artist and landscape designer Greg Corman. What appears as a beautiful natural wood sculpture is, in fact, drilled with small tunnels that provide nesting places for solitary native Arizona bees. These passive bees are not stingers or the type that make honey – they are known as pollinators and when they are doing their jobs, a garden flourishes. The bees co-exist with people so well that Corman has even made benches that double as bee habitats, and you can actually, well, sit on it quite happily. Whether as art, a bee house, a bench, or all three… this gift is green. Habitats from $100 – $300.

 

Pieces made by eco-artists mentioned above are available at Practical Art, a gallery and retail store featuring handmade objects by more than 75 Arizona artisans. Practical Art is located on Central Avenue, just north of Camelback Road in Phoenix. 602-264-1414. practical-art.com

 

Traces of Something Past
One person’s recyclables is artist Cheryle Marine’s treasure. From light bulb packaging materials and food wrappers to discovered objects like salt and pepper shakers, old documents and gears, Marine finds both inspiration and material for her art in everyday “stuff.” She traces, rubs, and casts various items, turning 3D objects into 2D works of art. Her pieces make a subtle statement about a society consumed by stuff, and often evoke a memory of one’s previous purchases. Her work combines textures as unique as the materials from which they are made. You have to give a recycling nod to an artist who lists tar paper as a favorite supply. “I’m really into roofing materials,” she states. Pieces from $300 to $10,000, available from the artist via email at eyeartthou@aol.com.

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