Artist self portrait from recycled bottle caps

Picture 41
Mary Ellen Croteau – Artist and Agitator. (love the tag line, I can tell already that we’d be great friends). Working in Chicago, she created this self portrait titled, “CLOSE”, 8’x7’ which was created from 7000 + plastic bottle caps, 2011.
Visit her website:

Mary Ellen Croteau is an artist whose work directly addresses the absurdities of social norms, and lays bare the underlying bias and sexist assumptions on which our culture is constructed. She currently works with non-recyced plastic waste, in an effort to demonstrate the huge amounts of trash we are consuming and sending into the environment.

Limited edition archival prints are available of this closeup shot:
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She has even provided a “how to” in case you are inclined to try this project at home. Interested in the abridged version? It is much harder than it looks! Click here for the instructions>>

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Recycled Robots – for your inner automoton

Found art with personality! First up is Etsy artist, Ken Swallow who creates his “KenBots” in his “Bot Cave” down near Tampa, FL. His artwork runs the gamut of creatures, motorcycles, and ROBOTS. Many of his pieces have a steampunk influence. Very creative and wonderfully inventive! Check out his website at or his Etsy Store at



Next stop is artist Branimir Misic from Sherbrooke, QC, Canada. His bio mentions that he is a mechanical engineer and has been working on mixed media sculptures from recycled objects for over 30 years. His creations are true works of art. Check out his Etsy shop at



Next up is Will Wagenaar from Reclaim2Fame who has been featured on GreatGreenGoods previously. He is a Floridian who has been creating with recycled re-purposed materials for more than 30 years. His work always communicates the powerful message of creative reuse. You can view his creatures on Flickr: or read his blog at: You can view his Etsy shop here:



Cheri Kudja from Hollywood FL loves to tinker with small found objects, hardware & jewelry scraps and has a special fondness for spark plugs & lugnuts. Her creations generally contain at least 75% of recycled or upcycled items. LOTS of personality in these robots! She can be found on Etsy at BittiBots:



From Erica Elgin who has a degree in sculpture from Portland State University. All of her robots have names and a backstory. Her site is bubbling with enthusiasm. Erica obviously had a lot of fun making these creatures. Her Etsy site is here:



Want to create your own robots? Buy the book!
Available on Amazon

Recycled Blog Goodness

If you enjoy reading, you will probably enjoy these blogs:
EL MUNDO DEL RECICLAJE – Un blog para descubrir todo lo que puede hacerse con lo que tiramos a la basuraor or
THE WORLD OF RECYCLING – A blog to discover what can be done with what we throw away.
Created by a gentle kindred spirit who loves to see what can be created from recycled materials. She links to me generously and often and I hope to repay her a fraction with this little post. (In Spanish)
Don’t visit Art for Housewives unless you have lots of time on your hands! Written by the amazing Cynthia Korzekwa who has an uncanny ability to uncover a million interesting links full of artful objects made from recycled materials. (In English)
Creative Recycling is the work of Oscar Buyo who uses various recycled materials in the creation of his art and functional objects. (In Spanish)
Recyclart finds products that are made from re-cycling, re-using, up-cycling, etc. (In English)
Spotlights creativity achieved with reused materials in eco-friendly design, art and architecture. (In Portuguese)
HauteNature is edited by Holland Seydel and focuses on innovative methods of harnessing the earths resources without waste. (In English)

Recycled Valentines from Etsy

Red Love paperie garland of handcut hearts. All black and white with one big red heart for drama and effect. Perfect for bringing a bit of joy and romance in to your February.
$38.00 for a string of 11 hearts (other combinations available) at PaperPolaroid’s Etsy Shop



What better way to say “I love you” than this fabulous pair of mittens made from recycled sweaters? Warm hands equals a warm heart.
$16.00 at MerchantShip’s Etsy Shop



Hand stitched heart magnets made from Eco-Fi felt which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Love the colors!
$28.00 for a set of 10 at WhatNoMint’s Etsy Shop



Valentine Love Pillows from reclaimed antique quilt fabrics from the 1940’s appliqued on linen. A beautiful hand-made gift for the one who deserves your “x” and “o”.
$20.00 at RobinsEggBlue’s Etsy Shop



Handwoven vintage glass button bracelet from buttons from the 1960’s. Featuring one big heart at the center and created from elegant white buttons.
$15.00 at HeyCaryAnn’s Etsy shop



This is a unique and fun gift, a coffee teaspoon in an elegant pattern. Says “I love you a Latte”. Perfect for that cute little “hard to buy for” coffee drinker in your life.
$15.50 at Sycamore Hill’s Etsy Shop



This heart has been around the block a few times in its former life as a skateboard. Cut, sanded, and sealed for its new life as a great piece of jewelry. I know a certain someone who will completely appreciate the pink, silver, white and black scuffed up graphic hanging delicately from a sterling silver chain.
$28.00 at Sevenply’s Etsy Shop



Recycled Silver and White Topaz ring that has “I promise” etched on the inside of the ring. How romantic!
$50.00 at PunkyBunny300’s Etsy Shop
Click here if you are interested in seeing more recycled eco friendly rings>>



Lavender Heart Sachet Valentines day Dream pillow filled with aromatic, soothing, relaxing fresh lavender and made from recycled embroidered linen. Beautiful, elegant and ecofriendly.
$8.00 at Herbolution’s Etsy Shop



A 5″ x 7″ print from a recycled vintage children’s storybook. Give the words every girl wants to hear!
$12.00 at CrowBiz’s Etsy Shop



Reclaimed recycled reworked sculptural works

I was inspired by the opening at Device Gallery over Labor Day weekend. It was a feast of artists working with recycled and found materials. Beautifully crafted. Device Gallery, in the Barrio Logan district of San Diego is part of an upcoming group of galleries hoping to push the San Diego art scene…and the art scene here needs some pushing!

Here are few favorites: first up by Gregory Brotherton (the owner of Device Gallery) Some of the pieces reminded me a bit of the characters in the animated movie “9”. My favorite piece from the show, pictured below is called “The Bishop” and is made from steel, teak and a recycled boy scout backpack.

Many of his materials are gathered from junk yards and industrial liquidation houses. Here’s an interview with Greg talking about his work and another story in the SD Tribune.
Greg Brotherton: website and facebook page.

Another artist at the Device Gallery show is Jeremy Mayer. He dissects typewriters and creates full-scale anatomically correct human figures all without soldering or welding …everything is fit together with cold assembly. In addition, in the show was a life size deer made out of typewriters.

Jereny Mayer: website and facebook page.

Here are a few more of my favorites:

Paul Loughridge – more info on Paul Loughridge on the Device Gallery website.

Stephane Halleux – more info on Stephane on the Device Gallery website.
If this is your thing, here are a couple of books:

Device, Vol. 2: Reconstructed

Device, Vol. 1: Fantastic Contraption