Art from Refuse
Mixed-Media Collage

by Jennifer Lilliebridge


     The focus of these pieces was the use of reclaimed materials such as product packaging, ephemera, book/magazine/newspaper pages, packing material, wooden items such as sticks, skewers, popsicle sticks, and even post-kicked karate boards! I used these items, sometimes blatantly, sometimes covertly, decoupaging or painting over them to enhance their pattern and texture.

     Color was an important factor, as most recyclables are cardboard-colored and dull on at least one side. I sought to elevate these materials and included embellishments such as buttons, beads, bingo chips, ribbon, fibers, cording, drywall tape, paint chips, formica


countertop samples, and found metal pieces. I was attracted to the text and colors that the advertisers used in their product designs.

     Studying commercial art and advertising, as well as graphic design, I know that a lot of thought and planning goes into the design of most of what we throw away, whether it’s the pattern printed on a tissue box or the complicated cardboard packaging of a bottled six-pack. I started noticing it all, and wondering to myself, “What can I do with this? What can this become?” Art from refuse was the result. Please take a moment to explore the complexity of textures and layers built into each piece. I hope you enjoy the result of my recycling-bin-raid.

Click images for larger view