November 30, 2023

On the average, a man produces two kilograms of trash a day, according to Google, 24 percent of which is plastic. In this day and age, much of that garbage is useful enough to upcycle into an art piece or a useful household item for display with a little glue, paint, wire, or nails.

In a recent project by the Baguio Museum, the Cordillera News Agency, and the National Center for Culture and Arts with some teenage students from the Baguio City National High School, a workshop on “Trash to Treasures Creative Upcycling” was done in June that placed added value to discarded and worthless items. The outputs were exhibited at the Baguio Museum from Sept. 2 to 30.

The most challenging items were metallic refuse. These were welded together to produce android looking items or animal-like figurines from hammerheads and steel bar scraps. Elbow pipes and metal bases make for a record player with megaphone of the early 20th century with a disc representing vinyl records of old. Showerheads and faucets make for an interesting contraption like a water dispenser or fountain. A metal disc makes for an interesting paper weight of sorts with a lizard crawling on top. These can punctuate a garden shelf for more interesting accents to pots and planters.

Baguio Media Newseum curator Art Tibaldo,a retired government employee and visual artist, served as mentor in the medium.

Wood planks of odd shapes and sizes were assembled into planes that make interesting mobiles that can be suspended from ceilings of garages or rooms. These require a sense of balance for the weight of the elements put together to make them look like they’re in flight. Some were made into bird houses that doubled as chimes of sorts. What better way to use unsightly odds and ends that convert into pleasant visual objects.

Architect Dulthe Carlo Munar mentored the students in these three dimensional mixed-media pieces.

Chains, locks,  and buttons when combined make assemblages that are expressions minus the brushstrokes and renderings. A neat row of beads etches a pool table and colored beads mimic the balls. A flat piece of wood makes for the cue stick. Some beads make the starry night for a set of owls. Buttons turn into a set of gongs. Appliques look like ivies hanging from a roof.

Mentored by Brenda Subido-Dacpano, she demonstrated mixed media art through the iconic Philippine Jeepney using clothing sequins, rhinestones, and beads. Broken chains make for roofing details. The artworks are mounted on boards and framed with jute sack.

The Legion of R-bots is mentored by toy maker Aurelio Castro III using plastic, batteries, and odds and ends from the electronic outdated parts. The bottle caps make for very interesting android heads. Arms and legs are neatly cut from tubes and cords. These could make interesting chess pieces played on chess boards. Interesting inventions for board game tokens could easily come from these odds and ends.

The elements of design were enticed using the items that gather dust and mildew in drawers. These could be used as artifacts in the near future to show the materials that were popular in certain historical eras.

The exhibit expresses an alternative to disposing garbage in landfills. Artful expressions can help use the materials as displays or accents instead of refuse. — Nonnette C. Bennett