My latest foray into recycling and upcycling – reusing and transforming materials into new art and craft – is Another Change. It’s an art project idea that incorporated recycling data cabling. I acquired multi-strand cable from a friend with an IT business, from which I developed a range of retro-style rainbow-coloured jewellery. I have turned this work into a social enterprise and profits go to local charities – currently the Food Bank.
:Reflected Light is a painting from my collection Another Change. The surface is scattered with glass pieces from Murano, Venice. I confused the shop owners when collecting up the broken pieces, but at the moment I am interested in creating stained glass window-type works. You might say in style terms, Marc Chagall meets Jackson Pollock. I’ve also used vibrant acrylic inks over slaked clay on board. A similar piece of my work hangs in St Leonard’s Church, Wollaton.
I might be considered a hoarder, but I feel the variety of materials in my garden studio, which have been foraged by me, donated, or are remaining after earlier art projects, are a veritable treasure trove and inspiration. I graduated with an MA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University nearly four years ago, and my passion for using ‘leftovers’ started during these studies. Climate change, waste issues and discovering ways to reuse materials became important to me in creating a sustainable art practice.
I trained as a journalist before moving into commercial PR and then government information work. I became a broadcasting regulator in commercial radio and television and am now self-employed, combining working part-time as the Institute of Directors’ East Midlands Press Officer and being an NTU Alumni Fellow. I produce environmental and organic-based art in my studio and sing with the NTU Choir and Notts Operatic Society.
I am into lifelong learning and try to hone my practical skills whenever possible. This summer I plan to undertake a week’s furniture-making course and I also recently attended a couple of workshops with a talented Istanbul wood carver. The inset photo shows me with my latest carved lamp, incorporating an eco resin and glass light box. It is carved from silver birch from Sherwood Forest. I believe there’s much more scope to produce locally-sourced art for tourism gifts.
People ask me where I get my ideas. After working in most areas of the creative industries, I feel many of the skills and ideas are interchangeable. On my website it says that I communicate via words and art, which probably sums me up quite well.
:Reflected Light is showing at West Bridgford Library, Sunday 24 April - Sunday 5 June. As part of the exhibition, Janet will also be demonstrating recycled art and jewellery on Saturday 21 May.