Everything old is art again

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Crafting is messy, but it can be even more fun when you start with items already discarded as waste and use creativity and imagination to make one person’s trash into your own treasure.

Art projects using reclaimed or recycled materials are increasingly popular, with entire television shows dedicated to “flipping” furniture found at flea markets and garage sales, and magazine racks full of project ideas. But what to do when inspiration strikes?

Mansfield residents looking for reclaimed materials can start at the Help Yourshelf Room at the Environmental Collection Center, 616 S. Wisteria St. The closet is full of an assortment of items, from televisions to paint, donated by city departments and residents and free for the taking.

upcycle art class info

“The things we cannot put on the shelf are pesticides, herbicides and aerosols or any electronic item that may contain personal information such as computers or smart televisions,” said Hazardous Waste Coordinator David Macias. “Normally I just sort through everything and make a decision. Items must be full or near full, the labeling legible and the container not too messy. Other items you’ll find might include pool supplies, automotive supplies, camping supplies, cement, grout, bulk salt rock, tools, charcoal/BBQ supplies and probably other things I can’t think of at the moment. If it is useable, it will go on the shelf. A lot of these are unused and unopened items as well; you just never know what you’ll find.”

Donations to the Help Yourshelf Room keep hazardous materials from being improperly disposed of and possibly polluting the environment, but also offer a great opportunity for recycling waste into a fun new creation. The Help Yourshelf Room and hazardous waste collection are both offered as services to residents 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

An even better way to create eco-friendly projects, without all the hassle of planning and collecting materials, comes from our Parks & Recreation Department. Naturalists at Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park offer Upcycle Art in the Park throughout the year, with the next event at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. The $5 registration fee includes three projects, all the instructions and materials included, plus a great time socializing with other crafty neighbors.

“Upcycled Art at the Park is just another fun way to enjoy time outdoors,” said Tiffany Gorrell, education specialist at Oliver Nature Park. “This program is for children and adults, easy and fun for all ages. We’re always looking for new ways to help people enjoy nature together.”

More information on Upcycle Art and other upcoming events at Oliver Nature Park can be found at olivernaturepark. com.

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