April is Earth Month, and we’re excited to show Mother Nature some love! What better way to ring in Earth Month than by celebrating recycling? How about by giving away some eco-friendly art?
We’re giving those who pledge to recycle the chance to win one of six Recycled Glass Night Lights by Vawn and Mike Gray! You can vow to help the planet by:
1.) Go above and beyond recycling newspapers and soda cans. Pledge to recycle old linens, batteries, cell phones, and other items that don’t get picked up by the side of your curb.
2.) Look carefully at the packaging on the items you buy. Pledge to cut down on buying items that can’t be recycled, or come in extra packaging that will end up in the trash.
3.) Start reusing materials to create art projects of your own!
The shades of all of Vawn and Mike’s night lights contain post-consumer glass that’s been rescued from the landfill and kiln-formed in a special, low-energy kiln. The Sandpiper and Pelican lights are extra special, because ten percent of the proceeds from each of these bird-themed lights goes to benefit Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.
But birds aren’t the only natural wonders that inspire the Florida-based artists, “We find inspiration all around us,” says Vawn. “We live in a tropical climate with amazing birds, creatures, flowers, beaches and sunsets. Most recently, a handsome dragonfly that crossed my path on the way to the mailbox sparked a new design!”
Recycled glass just might be the perfect medium for Vawn and Mike, since the colors commonly found in post-consumer glass are also those of elements in nature. They use brown glass to symbolize earth, green for grass and trees, clear for air and blue for water.
The Grays didn’t always use recycled materials, though. They were professional artists for years before making the switch, using old-fashioned high-energy kilns, toxic glazes, Styrofoam packing peanuts and gas guzzling truck to haul their products to art shows. In 2007, the couple saw a broadcast of the Live Earth Concert, which included eco-facts along with musical performances, and they were inspired to conserve.
“We stepped into a whole different process which required a lot of trial and error,” says Vawn, “much like re-inventing the wheel. But, we love a challenge—and the interest in our work was immediate—which provided more validation for our environmental focus.”
Vawn and Mike hope that their handmade pieces provide “artful reminders to conserve.” Their advice for those ready to start creating their own art from reclaimed materials?
“I think textures play a big roll when working with recycled materials,” says Vawn. “When you put your focus on texture and form—suddenly a twisted rusty old can takes on a whole new life. It’s all about imagination. If you don’t have enough—consult the nearest child!”
Do you plan to create a recycled masterpiece of your own? Are you willing to load up your bike basket with takeout containers and peddle to your local recycling center? Tell us your pledge!
Enter by Wednesday at 11:59 ET for a chance to win. And check back soon; all this month we’ll be featuring the work of artists who are going above and beyond to protect the planet, and offering easy tips for you to do the same!