Friday, May 27, 2016


When we moved to Tokyo, I noticed immediately the small plastic bags filled with refuse stacked together on the sidewalks, covered by a green netting to keep the ravens away, waiting for the trash collectors to pick them up. At first, I looked at the heaps self-righteously, thinking what a better recycler I was. We separated our trash into recycled and throw-aways at the time. Then I noticed each family left out just the one small grocery bag in comparison to our two large kitchen-sized trash cans of garbage and recycling that we put out each week. So much for my pride! The Japanese tend to reuse what they have until what is left fits into a small plastic bag at the end of the week. They also have strict rules regarding separating trash and different types of recyclables.*

I've talked with many creative people who are great recyclers too. When we do a lot of projects, we end up with an assortment of projects that are good practice, but not ready to be in a portfolio. With all the workshops I've been taking this Spring, I have a collection of pieces ready to be turned into something else.

What to do with them?

Cut them up!

Use them on the outsides of envelopes. 

They make great cards. 

Part of a watercolor cut up and made into a card.

Pieces from a calligraphy exercise that didn't work very well as a large piece. Cut up and glued into an embossed piece of paper -- much better!

Or glue them down to another substrate, gesso over them, and make another mixed media piece altogether.

This is an original painting that I like. I made a copy of it to use in this mixed media piece.

Practice pieces ready to be turned into something else.

Artists have a hard time throwing anything away. My postcards I mentioned in last week's posting are perfect examples. What is no longer precious, can be used again!

Remember to send a postcard or a repurposed piece of art to a friend this summer! Keep in touch.

*If you would like to know more about Japan and its recycling techniques, check out Todd Jay Leonard's blog at,_Blog_Archives.html


  1. Great idea...I am going to repurpose my soon as I finish my zen tangle book !

  2. You are going great guns, my friend. All that creativity of yours is bursting out everywhere.


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