Creative recycling

Debbie Walker’s oversized dragonfly flaunts wings made from ceiling fan blades.

(Posted May 8, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Roughly a decade ago, the London Visual Arts Guild held an exhibit featuring art made from recycled materials. They recycled the idea this year and added a twist, welcoming entries from the public. The result is a show at the London Arts Center featuring 62 entries created by the public and guild members alike.

Just inside the gallery door, a piece hangs on the wall that has the shape and construction of a crocheted rug but is light, airy, and undulating thanks to the materials used: plastic grocery bags.

A giant, blue-and-green dragonfly clings to another wall, its wings made from ceiling fan blades.

Judy Dillon Smith created this street scene using pen and ink, water colors, and a collage of paper bits ranging from maps to cancelled checks.

Sitting in a basket in the center of the room is a collection of perky faces, many Christmas-themed, all made from lightbulbs. Next to them are bracelets made from guitar strings, along with former spaghetti jars and coffee canisters transformed into gorgeous containers adorned with painted flowers.

Many of the entries beg visitors to step in for a closer look, as is the case with Judy Dillon Smith’s framed streetscape scene. From afar, it’s a picture of a collection of buildings. Up close, one can see the buildings are “constructed” from bits of maps, canceled checks, dictionary pages, cancelled postage stamps, envelope linings, and other scraps of paper materials.

“I was inspired by an artist whose work I saw in a workshop. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, and this show gave me the opportunity to do it,” Smith said.

Smith collected the paper parts and pieces over the span of a year, then combined them with pen and ink and watercolors to create the inviting scene that now hangs in the exhibit.

George Peyton’s “Time Dialation Camera” is a mish-mash of camera and computer parts, taking viewers back to 1938 London. (This one view of the piece.)

George Peyton’s entry is the only one that makes sound and has moving pictures. His “Time Dialation Camera” combines parts of an old camera, a video screen, a portable flash unit, and a USB number key pad. A series of photos flash on the video screen, all taken by a photographer who was commissioned by the government in 1938 to document smalltown America during the Great Depression. All of the scenes are from London, Ohio.

“Since this is a community show, I thought the photos were a good tie-in with London,” said Peyton, who was thrilled with the theme of the exhibit. “I used to build things out of old stuff to make art. This was right up my alley.”

This is another view of George Peyton’s “Time Dialation Camera.”

Peyton, an artist and photographer, will have an exhibit of his own running May 25-June 25. An opening reception is slated for 5-8 p.m. May 27.

The Creative Recycling Exhibit runs through May 21 at the London Arts Center, 121 E. First St. The center’s hours are: Tuesday, 4-7 p.m.; Thursdays and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite entries. People’s Choice awards will go to the top three vote-getters in categories for children and adults. Peyton’s time machine won the Mayor’s Choice award as selected by London Mayor Patrick Closser.

Pam Stanforth used buttons, gems, tinsel, beads, and even a small plastic palm tree to create this stunning figure.


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