“It’s important to me not just to recycle,” says Atlanta-based artist Kathleen Plate, “but to turn it into something beautiful.”
With licenses to use Coca-Cola’s branding and a patent on her world famous glass rings, Plate turns yesterday’s garbage into today’s fine art.
You’ve probably seen her work before. Her glass bottle light fixtures are a common sight in Chick-fil-a restaurants.
And a chandelier made completely of glass rings crafted from old Coca-Cola bottles is on display at the Coca-Cola Museum right here in Atlanta.
To say Plate turns the mundane into the avant-garde is an understatement. She transforms a blight on humanity into art so entrancing she can charge top dollar for it.
And she doesn’t limit herself to chandeliers and light fixtures. Plate’s work has strutted down the runway at fashion shows and she’s even created all glass curtains.
What started as a way to use up some of the recyclable glass that littered her small Washington State fishing community blossomed into a career in high-end design.
As she became well known for her glass jewelry, Plate began exploring other techniques and methods for reusing old glass.
Everyone from the Guggenheim Museum to private collectors has commissioned Plate to bring her resourceful and creative art pieces into their lives.
One of her latest attractions lives at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Downtown Chicago. It’s part of the zoo’s effort to incorporate as many eco-friendly features into the new design as possible.
Eco-art was born out of the need to create something useful out of the massive amount of waste we produce.
Right here in Atlanta, the average resident throws away 512 lbs of garbage every year. Artists like Plate are doing something about this by turning all that waste into something not just desirable, but beautiful.
If Plate’s work inspires you, check out some of these other eco-artists turning garbage into works of art you won’t believe was in a dumpster the week before.
The European art collective “Luzinterruptus” call attention to environmental issues through entrancing visual arts. Their “Labyrinth of Plastic Waste” is a sprawling maze made up of disposable plastic bags filled with luminescent discarded water bottles.
The goal is to show the immense volume of plastic waste we create using a poetic and visually stunning display. Not only does it show one of the potential uses for all this waste, it pulls attention toward a subject no one wants to talk about.
Even architects are getting in on the eco-art trend. Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi built their amazing “Harvest Dome” out of 128 water bottles and the skeletons of 450 umbrellas.
As it floated around the inlet of Inwood Hill Park visitors could see the massive dandelion looking art installation wandering the lake like a raft someone forgot to tie to the dock.
This piece is no longer on display but keep an eye out for other projects by the architectural duo in the future.
Artists help us see things in a way we never have before. Instead of importing his exotic pigments from a factory in China, John Sabraw uses the runoff from abandoned coal mines to harvest the bright pigments found in his paintings.
Rather than create more waste just to get some bright colors, Sabraw uses the resources already available to him, which happens to be widespread environmental pollution.
Not only are his works beautiful, but they also draw attention to the pollution mining creates.
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