Even though gift-giving was relatively stingy this Christmas season, enough stuff changed hands to generate plenty of leftover trash. And that means good tidings for the artists who transform cast-offs into commodities.
Curbsides and trash bins are suddenly overflowing with bags, boxes and other booty that will become the raw material for creations ranging from candle holders to jewelry to undergarments.
Artist Kat Cole scours one of Pittsburgh’s busiest thoroughfares, Liberty Avenue, for bits of steel, wire and bolts that have fallen off the streams of rumbling trucks and cars in and out of downtown. She was busy last month making Christmas gifts from cans discarded on the roadside; one woman wanted three handmade broaches.
Cole, 23, said she used to make jewelry from metals such as copper and silver, too, but scrap prices rose too high this past year. So, she switched to the free stuff that had been thrown off cars and trucks along Liberty Avenue and other streets. “It has been good for my work and my pocketbook,” she said.
Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch, an artist in Massachusetts, looks for Coke cans and washing-machine-hose clamps, weaving pieces into garters. The red and silver garter is one of 13 items in her line of trashy lingerie, which also employs old dryer vents and, in her homage to the Wonderbra, welded steel.
Photo by Dean Powell.