Have you ever heard of someone using the title "Reclaim Artist?" Yeah, me either. Well, until today that is! I just saw this term for the first time, and the artist in question is Laura Bergman. She lives in Pennsylvania's Amish country and has somehow managed to combine a love with the outdoors, a sense of environmental responsibility and art into a business!
Now here is another question: have you ever heard of a bottle dump? Yeah, me either. Well, until today that is! Laura says that's where she finds most of her glass, usually in the woods. I'm not sure why, but evidently it used to be quite popular to dump trash in the woods! Of course newer trash contains lots of metal and plastic, and that stuff takes forever to decompose. Well, except for the plastic, which will *never* decompose. But if the dump site is really old, like before plastic, then most of the other stuff decays and leaves a pile of glass. Now people who collect antique glass bottles (Laura does that too) love these areas and will pick them clean of all the intact bottles. They will also take some broken ones if they can find all the pieces. But that still leaves a lot of broken glass shards lying around in the leaves. And that's where Laura comes in!
She takes the broken pieces of glass and turns them into jewelry! The shapes and colors are endless. And one really cool thing about her jewelry is that it is very friendly to the environment. No new glass is used, which gives it an extremely low carbon footprint.
Here are a couple of examples of her work:
This piece is made out of some leftover bits and pieces of a mason jar. She then pounded them down and fused them in a kiln just enough to smooth the edges and fuse the glass together into a remarkable sparkling necklace. The heat of the kiln further enhances the original aquamarine color of the jars. She also includes "The Story of the Glass" which is a history of the glass and when it was originally manufactured, etc.
These are two thick rectangles of ice blue antique glass, actually from the broken remains of a World War II Era Mason Jar! Remember those old blue canning jars from your grandmothers house? Reclaimed from old glass dumps in wooded habitats and rural farmlands in an effort to help the environment and wildlife, they are remade into these lovely glass earrings of the most striking color!
Laura calls her company "Bottled Up Designs" and I just think it's really cool what she is doing.
So the next time you are wanding in some open space near your neighborhood or perhaps an overgrown patch of weeds in the woods, and you stumble over a glass jar of some sort, don't just keep walking! You might want to stop and take a look around. Maybe you will find some sort of drink bottle from the 1970's, or maybe you're looking at the top of a pile that goes down all the way to the antique level. You'll never know if you don't look!