Recycling comes in varying degrees of difficulty depending on where you live. In my urban Chicago life, it’s kind of a trek to get my recycling to the proper bin each week, and I never look forward to it. Inspired by the Gulf oil prints by Anthony Burrill, I wanted to create some kitchen art to remind myself of the importance of my efforts. The final product is a pair of corresponding prints, one a photograph and the other a newsprint with inspirational words. This eco friendly craft also serves as a reminder that no matter how annoying the triviality of recycling chores may be, it is totally worth the effort to save piles of waste from filling up more of our land and oceans.
Here’s how to make your own recycling inspired art:
- A printer or a previously printed photograph you would like to use
- A set of picture frames (I picked up a thrift store pair for $2)
- Pre-cut mats (optional)
- A marker or paint pen if you don’t have a printer
Print 1: Choose a Photograph
To create your first piece of art, choose a photograph that reminds you of how important it is to keep our planet clean. I decided to use a photograph of an industrial dump hiding behind some unsuspecting storefronts on the outskirts of my Chicago neighborhood. These pictures remind me that if we don’t recycle, then our waste gathers in these massive, ugly piles.
Print 2: Overlay an Inspirational Quote on Newsprint
Next, do a good old google search for the perfect inspirational words to support the photograph. Here are a few that I considered:
- Waste not, want not
- Save the places you love
- “With our love, we could save the world.” George Harrison
- “I never worry about action, but only about inaction” Winston Churchill
- “You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled.” Dhyani Ywahoo
- “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come.” Chinese proverb
- “A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.” John Sawhill
Finally, I settled on a classic – the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This quote is often used for a variety of purposes, but I thought it was perfect next to my dump photograph because the reason I recycle is to stop carelessly piling waste onto our beautiful earth. That is a change I would like to embody.
I then scanned in a page of newsprint and simply layered the quote on top. For those without photo editing software, this can easily be done by hand by stenciling or stamping on the actual newsprint using a marker, paint, paint pen or even stickers.
To print your photo, I recommend LifePhoto. It is a great source for sustainable photo printing, and I had my photograph printed there at 11×14, to fit my frames.
The Finished Product
Once you have your prints, alls you have to do is frame, hang and you’re all set. I choose to frame them in a matching set I got from my local thrift store, for only a dollar a piece. I then used pre-cut mats to finish them off. These are an affordable and inspirational kitchen art and a perfect reminder that our daily actions can have a much bigger impact.
If you would like to use my dump photographs (more can be seen on my personal blog) feel free to email me: kinskeye [at]gmail.com. I would be happy to share!