Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Upcycling comes to Bellevue


Chris Giffin artBellevue, the biggest city on the Eastside of Lake Washington, hosts several art fairs ever year in July. This year, I toured all three "co-synchronous" fairs (and luckily for my feet, "co-located") and found four talented artists offering upcycled wares.



Chris Giffin

Chris Giffin art

Chris Giffin makes humorous, finely crafted pieces out of vintage wood and metal items. I first saw her work a few years ago and I've never forgotten it. Blinking antique doll eyes give her animal creations lots of personality. Many have antique-looking clocks in their bellies. Some, like the bunny above, appear to be contemplating the mysteries of life.

Besides clocks, Chris makes other functional art. I especially like the lampshade below made of old measuring tape.
Chris Giffin art

Other pieces, like this wall clock, are haunting.
Chris Giffin art

BVA Design

Brad Van Anderson, from Bozeman Montana, creates surprising sculptures out of discarded metal, "turning junk into something precious" (his motto). Guess what this bigger-than-life cross (about 10 ft. tall) is made of?
BVA Design metal art
Old lawnmowers! How cool is that? Brad also makes fun creatures, both animal and "other":
BVA Design metal art
BVA Design metal art

Kwytza Chopstick Art

Kwytza Chopstick Art
Ever wonder where those chopsticks go after you finish your pad thai? Bryan Parker, founder of Kwytza Chopstick Art, asked himself that question after a lunch in China. He discovered that "billions of single-use chopsticks were consumed annually. The more shocking revelation was that it took, by some estimates, 25 million trees and bamboo plants to support that resource waste." 

Bryan decided to find a way to re-use these billions of chopsticks while at the same time drawing attention to their negative environmental impact.
Kwytza Chopstick Art
Kwytza's products include placemats, table runners, folding baskets, jewelry, and more. (You can buy them online here.) Well-made and all natural, these items are true examples of upcycling.

Water-ski Functional Art

Pete Gratama also works with discarded wood, but on a much larger scale -- water-ski scale. He makes beautiful Adirondack chairs from vintage water-skis. 
Water-ski art by Pete Gratama
I love the way he incorporates the logos and other graphic details of the skis into the chair's design. And they're comfortable too!

Besides chairs, Pete makes one-of-a-kind lamps and wall pieces.
Water-ski art by Pete Gratama

Water-ski art by Pete Gratama
I'm so glad I braved the crowds to visit the fairs this year! Maybe next year, I'll be showing my own upcycled wares.