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Trash turns to treasure with the help of an artist's hands

Dec. 26, 2012

The process is called upcycling, the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value.

That's what local artist Jen Hellmann's message says in the Ecotique at the Delafield Arts Center. Hellman crafted pieces of art which were used as the centerpieces during the annual luncheon, using plastic bottles.

The Ecotique is open throughout the month of December and showcases a number of eco-friendly artists. They've made unique gifts, from tire-intertube "leather" bracelets to artful chairs that visitors can purchase to support the local artists.

"Everything here has been upcycled, recycled and created by artists and locals in the community," said Anne Raskopf.

Raskopf, from Oconomowoc, designed vintage cowboy boot purses, recycled painted windows and retro art chairs for the Ecotique. She uses the part of the cowboy boot that doesn't wear out, the throat of the boot, to create handbags. She's an avid rider, too, so receives materials donated by other riders that she knows.

"I love working with vintage materials. Some of the boots that I've seen I think I recognize from the '70s," Raskopf said.

Raskopf joins other local artists Deb Raschella, Janie Peabody, Mary Jo Schuchardt and Julie Garton in the Ecotique.

Raschella, from Dousman, used all-natural materials to create jewelry and vases from gourds. Each gourd comes with a thoughtful card which reminds the buyer that they've been used to "capture good spirits" through the ages.

"They are grown in the garden and she paints them and uses all kinds of beautiful additions," Raskopf said.

Peabody, from Pewaukee, made the winter wear (fingerless gloves and hats) from upcycled natural materials like cashmere and merino wool. She will also arrange custom orders for those who need something special or can't find the right size or length. They've been selling like hotcakes, according to Raskopf.

Schuchardt, from Pewaukee, creates beautiful glass bowls, plates, panels and sculptured glass.

"When we were looking for things that were upcycled we wanted things that were beautiful but also constructed well," Delia Sava, Delafield Arts Center Executive Director said.

Garton, also in the Ecotique, created the handbags from any flat material like vinyl records and board games. Her first handbag creation was a record and cover from "Hotel California" by the Eagles, made from thin wood and painted black, with rivets hammered by hand. Today the "Carry the Look" handbags are crafted from thin PVC plastic and the rivets are set with an aircraft riveting machine. Add that to the list of tools she already uses (sewing machine, table saw, router, sanding machine, drill press, band saw, air powered tools, file, hand tools) and you'll realize that these are not ordinary purses.

"This is our first year doing it and we had such a positive response that we will probably start earlier next year," Raskopf said.

Upcoming classes

The Delafield Arts Center is offering these art classes at the center, 803 Genesee St.

Punchcard Art Studio - 4 to 5:30 p.m., Fridays; instructor Anne Raskopf for ages 7 to 16

Sign up for six sessions and come when you can. This continuous art studio class offers the young artist the opportunity to be flexible with his or her time. Classes will be held every Friday with a few exceptions. Students will work at their own pace. Explore painting, drawing, wire sculpture, paper mache and much more. First session will be exploring nature by painting a landscape. Cost: $120 for 6 sessions or $25 per class; supplies needed vary on project, instructor will give out a list.

Horse Boot Camp - 9 to 11 a.m., Feb. 16 and 23, March 2 and 9; instructor Anne Raskopf for ages 7 to 14

This workshop focuses on the majestic beauty of horses. Explore horses through drawing, painting, printing and more. Learn to draw large, small, quick and slow. Cost: $125. Supplies list: Canvas (stretched or board), sketch pad & pencils, brushes, acrylic paint

For more information on the classes, email anne@delafieldartscenter.org or call (262) 303-4865.

For more information on the Delafield Arts Center, visit www.delafieldartscenter.org/classes/adult-classes/.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Spring Seedling Sale & Greenhouse Open House: 10 a.m. May 23, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. A variety of organic veggie and herb seedlings to plant in your home or community garden this spring will be for sale. All plant sale profits will benefit the Giving Garden initiative.

Memorial Honor Celebration: 8 a.m. May 23, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson, 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive, Oconomowoc. Daylong event begins with reveille and breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by color guard and the national anthem. The event also includes military and veterans organizations, interactive displays and vehicles, food and beverages and entertainment. Evening showing of “Honor Flight: One Last Mission.” on a big, outdoor screen.

"Small Space Container Gardens" Seminar: 11 a.m. May 23, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, W1795 Fox Road, Ixonia. Free educational seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers. Melinda, who will also be available to answer gardening questions. Enter to win a $500 Ebert’s shopping spree with Melinda.

Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. May 23, Lapham Peak State Park, W329 N846, Delafield. Children and their families will hike with a guide and a representative of the Delafield Library will share books, songs and a craft to enhance the experience. Meet at the Lapham Peak Tower. State park sticker is required.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings

 

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