Friday, September 24, 2010

If plastic bottles were horses...

Being stuck behind a desk all day makes one forget that the City of Los Angeles is a veritable hive of creative activity, full of people busily spinning miracles out of thin air.

And then earlier this month, all manner of fascinating objects appeared in the Youth Services office, made of discarded paper and plastic and cardboard and other found or recyclable materials. Colorful and eye-poppingly creative, these were the regional finalists of our Teen Reading Club "Trash to Art" contest. To ensure that the judging was both objective and expert, we recruited staff from Central Library's Art and Recreation department to choose the top 4 winners.

Not only were these art pieces fabulous in themselves, but most of them were accompanied by touching explanations by the teen artists. Crystal, who created a violin out of cardboard, toilet paper rolls, plastic spoons, and newspaper, writes, "...Think of the amount of trees on this earth that are diminishing by the second...Imagine, instead of using wood to make instruments like violins, pianos, and guitars, we use things like plastic or even old cardboard!" Jacqueline, who created a lovely strapless dress from newspaper, make-ready sheets, packing tape, and velcro, assures us that the dress is "surprisingly lightweight and comfortable!" And Grace, who was not a top winner but whose plastic bottle/caps/newspaper/sand "Flower of the Future" is perky and charming, writes, "I created a flower because I see trash in nature everywhere."

1st Place Winner: Carousel Horse
Lisa R and Isabelo L, Memorial Branch
This life-sized horse made from bottles, straws, plastic bags, and clear packing tape, is a jaw-dropper. These two teens are accomplished artists.

2nd Place Winner: Violin
Crystal T, Age 14, Westwood Branch
This violin looks like the real thing from a distance. Don't you love the plastic spoons?

3rd Place Winner: Dress
Jacqueline G, age 16, Sherman Oaks Branch
Really, I should have modeled this so you can get the full effect, but it shows a bit too much leg for my comfort.

Honorable Mention: Purse
Anais M, 8th grade, Venice Branch

Plenty of staff members expressed an interest in purchasing this handbag, which is knitted from 20 plastic bags and is pretty much guaranteed to last forever.


  1. These teens are pretty amazing.
    Congrats to all the winners.

  2. Wow! That horse is over the top! What kills me is that it's actual-size of a real carousel horse.
    The violin though is gorgeous. Again, it looks just like the real thing.
    I'm just amazed by these kids creativity.