I walked to the local Sunday market this morning. On the way I came across a broken chain from a bicycle. It was just a piece of junk lying on the cement footpath but the right person with imagination and talent could use it as part of a sculpture. I am impressed by the way some people can use things others have discarded to make something beautiful, useful or quirky. Some people also have a talent for turning a negative experience into something which is beautiful or helpful to others.
They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Creative people who turn discarded junk into art prove this saying. Some crafts people keep some of what they make to decorate their home. They may make items to give to friends and family as gifts that will be treasured. Others sell most of what they make at markets or online.
People may pick up rubbish from the side of the road. They may find pieces of glass worn smooth along the beach. Some have access to an old rubbish tip on a farm or outback station. Friends may give them pieces of scrap tin or whatever they use in their craft.
Where most people see junk, the crafts person’s eyes will light up as they see the potential in discarded materials. It may be scraps of fabric, pieces of wood, discarded pallets or bits of corrugated iron. Their imagination fires up.They can picture the items they could create. They can use their talents to transform junk.
Birdhouse made from discarded scraps of wood and tin. Image:Marie Vonow
Earlier this year the Barossa Valley in South Australia held its vintage festival. One of the attractions was a display of numerous ‘scarecrows’ at various locations. People with imagination used their talents to create all manner of displays. The variety of exhibits was amazing.
This farmer scarecrow with plough and horse was one of the Barossa displays. Image:Marie Vonow
This tinman was another display during the Barossa vintage festival. Image:Marie Vonow
Sometimes people fashion scrap items into something useful like a letter box. The results may be quirky and real conversation starters. With a bit of imagination and some skill all sorts of useful things can be made from what can be considered junk.
Just as some people have a talent for transforming physical junk into something beautiful or useful, there are people who manage to turn a negative experience into something positive. There are poets, musicians and songwriters who can take a sad experience and produce something with beauty in it. The feeling of sadness may still be there but there can be beauty or perhaps an element of hope.
Sometimes a person who has been through a tragic experience decides to do something to help others. They may set up an informative website. Perhaps they start a campaign to raise public awareness. Some choose to collect money to help others who have suffered. Maybe they encourage research or do the research themselves.
Whether the ‘junk’ is physical scrap or a negative experience, some people have a talent for transforming it into something more positive. They make good use of rubbish. To do this they have to see beyond the junk in front of them and envision how it can be used for good.
Thank you for this lovely article Marie. Junk indeed is on the eye of the beholder. I'm not one of the wonderful 'crafty' people, but I've been able to turn some of my 'junk' life experiences into blogs and books, and these blogs and books have indeed helped others