Using again in a new way

Recycling is not just for plastic, cardboard, and newspaper. The concept of using something again, in a new way, can be applied to many parts of our life, from letter writing, to baby toys, to recipes, to artwork.

Kern’s Forest 31 X 51

Cousing Janet has taken the Facebook concept share photos and stories and redirected it to a letter format. These are easily shared with very old relatives, the kind who do not own computers and smart phones. It’s not as fast as Facebook, but we know that the photos and stories are recieved at the other end.

An array of smallish objects and receptacles, reused, make highly interesting  baby toys for a young one who is riveted to the in and out concept and the lids that fit and are removed.

I recycled the idea of the greasy part of one recipe (crab unstuffed mushrooms) and applied it to experiments using Sun Chokes (also called Jeruselem Artichokes). This is a perennial vegetable that can grow in the challenging conditions of Gillette Wyoming, and therefore will be planted come Spring. In the meantime … recipes that are acceptable, and this particular recycled idea was a huge hit.

Rain Detail

Quilting was born out of recycling. The ‘medium’ of garments, feed sacks, curtains, dishtowels, etc.. were given new life. The possibilities for recycling are endless, and in the modern world an artist might choose some unusual paper, plastic, and metal to add to a “quilt”.  I myself stick to fabric, but love to use what I have in new ways, and delight in the contrasting combinations of new and old things used together. I recently cut the embroidery flowers off my tattered soft sleeping shirt and used them straight away in an art quilt I was making for my son’s living room tall wall.

Is there something in your life that could be recycled? A favorite color palette or theme? Perhaps it is an (old) new way of organizing a task (like using a paper calendar, perhaps?) Is there an (old) new way of enjoying your day off? Talking with someone? Getting a good night’s sleep?

My husband supports recycling, but would prefer that the cardboard not take over the spare room! He also pointed out the insignificant dent that recycling makes when held up next to … the negative carbon footprint of one flight in a jet. That’s all true, but I do it anyway.

The artwork posted in this blog show old and new fabrics used side by side. In the kitchen, I specialize in using the leftovers. Accessible and delicious!


Stories Told 26 X 19

And here’s that greasy recipe you might enjoy.

Crab Unstuffed Mushrooms: In a pan, saute diced vegetables in this order, (in butter) – onion, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms. When mostly cooked add drained small can of crab meat and a bit of dill (fresh or dry). Dot top with 1/2 t. bits of cream cheese and then with slices of pepper jack cheese. Put lid on pan and let cheese melt before serving.

Sun Choke adaptation: Use sun choke instead of mushrooms. Omit crab.

Harder than arranging the towels

My daughter likes to regularly scout for home decorating ideas on the internet. She got very excited after seeing several examples of artwork arranged in Salon style on the wall behind one’s TV screen. Salon style means lots of artwork hung close together top to bottom and side to side. The idea is to balance… Read more »

Seasons of Life

“To every time there is a season, a time to live, a time to die” —or something similar to this. And also the bit about under heaven. This sentiment makes it’s way into wedding vows and sympathy cards. A time to get hip replacement (modern miracle) A time to breast feed your newborn baby non-stop… Read more »

Pendulum Swinging

Politics also go through a seasonal cycle, but instead of the sweet and nurturing circle we experience within seasons of the year, political climates are right and left, pendulum swinging back and forth. The trapeze is up so very high! The political tribes have opposite view points on so many things – Are rules for the… Read more »

The weather promises to change

Can you guess which one of these images represents December and which one represents March?   Which image is April and which is October?     I have been creating small (10X14) abstract artwork for each month of the year. I use a combinatiion of hand painted and commercial fabrics. All applique and quilting is done… Read more »

A day in the life- mid August

      The mid-August brisk air (55 – 65 degrees) is perfect for removing the algae from around the edge of our small pond. This task is only done while wearing knee pads (making crawling easy) and in the early morning cool air before the yellow jacket wake up bell. Before this task I… Read more »

Just add purple and chartreuse

I’m starting a new series of work that will use (spiritual) purple and (rebirth) chartreuse as major players. At least that’s my current thinking. I will use a lot of a formerly used Wyoming color palette with these strong colors added. Here are some examples of older work using many of the same colors.  Taken together they… Read more »

Make Over

Get out the rotary cutter. Sometimes the best thing to do with a piece that isn’t so good, is to visualize cutting it up, and then have fun doing it!  Since you didn’t like it anyway, nothing is lost. Making artwork is always a risk, so I say, go for it. I cut ‘Abstract Figure’… Read more »

Everyone is happy

When a commission turns out well, everyone is happy. The woman who asked me to make a piece based on a photo of herself and her children, was already familiar with my artwork. She knew about my medium, style, subject matter, and my love of light and shadow. She could safely feel that I was… Read more »

Something to Say About the Digital Age

New inventions have always been both delightful and frightening. An autonomous car is no different than a telephone, except for the century in which it is imbedded into human lives.  My Voice (the artistic voice of Joan Sowada) is exemplified by using images of people and animals, usually in relationship with each other and the out… Read more »