Archive for the ‘New Uses for Old Stuff’ Category

Old Denim? Put It To Use for Habitat!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Recently I worked with a client who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. We’ve been clearing out her basement in order to create a home office and exercise area. In the process we discovered a box full of jeans. No, the box wasn’t full of Earnest Sewn, 7 For All ManKind, or Diesel. We had the wide leg kind, short-short cut-offs, painter jeans, and even the classic overalls. Holly explained “my accumulation of jeans was inspired by a quilt my mother made when I was in high school.”

Holly found numerous things to donate (which really helped move the basement project along). I left her with the assignment to find a new home for the donations before I returned one week later. Today, Holly emailed me to say she found the perfect place for the denim. “Since I recognize that I will never get around to making a quilt for myself, and that I can put the jeans to a good use, I was able to let go of them.”

An eighth grade student in Montgomery County, Christa Guild, is collecting jeans for a denim drive sponsored by Cotton Inc. and Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County ReStore in Gaithersburg.

All the jeans collected will be shipped to California. There the jeans begin their transformation into Cotton Fiber Insulation. California-based Allen Company donates their resources to bale the denim. Next, the material is sent to JBM Fibers in Texas. JBM converts the denim back into cotton fiber. Eventually, the cotton fiber will be sent to Arizona, where Bonded Logic Inc. makes it into UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation. It’s lots of work for a cool product, which Habitat for Humanity will use in new houses built in New Orleans and the Gulf region.

As noted in the May 7th edition of the Montgomery County Gazette, Guild has already collected 114 pairs of jeans. She said, ‘‘we’re trying to get 500 because that’s how much it takes to insulate one house.”

The denim insulation is not created with harsh chemicals, is 30% more sound proof then fiberglass insulation, is hypo-allergenic, and it is not itchy like other insulation. The UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation can be installed without gloves or masks. Wouldn’t that make every insulation installer happier?

Cotton Inc. partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County ReStore to bring the drive to Montgomery County for the first time this year, said Adeela Abbasi, marketing and communications manager with Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The goal for the county is to collect 2,500 pairs of jeans and insulate five homes.

Deadline for donations is September 2, 2008!
Be sure to donate before Labor Day. Take your jeans to:

Trash Becomes Treasure – Recycled Art

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

DC has a very cool event each year titled Artomatic. It’s 1000 artist, displaying their work for 28 days and nights, all in one building, attracting over 50,000 visitors. The diversity of the artwork at this year’s event was amazing. I personally enjoyed all the artwork created with recycled objects. Over the next few weeks I’m going to highlight a few of the artists who’s work caught my eye at Artomatic 2008.

Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette
created a very cool 3-D display of bottle caps, title 1,584 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (I’ve Had My Share). Created with bottle caps and nails, I thought the 40″ x 50″ piece was very cool. It was inspired by her Grand Father-in-Law who gave up drinking around age 60. When he passed away, Elizabeth received two cans of nails he had saved. She used those nails for this installation. Check out Elizabeth’s Flickr Stream, she has great work much of it created with recycled materials.

Click on any image to view it full size.

I wanted to know more about how this display came about so I contacted Elizabeth. She told me the bottle caps have been collected over time from friends and family and that they were often brought back from vacations, or weddings. She created a permanent bottle cap mosaic wall in her house (which is for sale, by the way) with nearly 5,000 bottle caps. You can see more pictures of her house here.

Since her family is moving to Colorado, when Artomatic closed down, she couldn’t keep all the bottle caps. However, she did share this cool photo of a pot she created with some of the left over bottle caps.

I think this is truly ‘Pop’ Art! Do you know any other artist creating art from recycled materials?