April 21, 2014

Upcycling & Spring Cleaning: One Man’s Trash Is An Artist’s Treasure

By: Diane Maxeiner – Photographer: DME Photo Design

Ahh… Spring is almost here. Bring on the yard sales!! Spring cleaning for some people is the time to clear out their homes and get rid of neglected items. For others, spring cleaning means it’s upcycling season: seeking out those neglected items and repurposing them into objects of art. It’s the old saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”!

Meet Donna Castellanos, Upcylcing Artist

My sister Donna Castellanos is the perfect example of someone who can see treasure in what others may see as trash. As an upcycling artist, her definition of reuse and recycle has a totally different meaning than the rest of us. In her words: “I am a rescuer of once loved things”.

The quote perfectly depicts Donna’s approach to Upcycling. I find it, and so do my children, almost magical the way she transforms overlooked, broken or forgotten items into incredible pieces of sustainable art. Discarded Items that once had a history and sentimental value to someone long ago (oil paintings, jewelry, violins, watches) are re-designed and find a new place in someone else’s life. Donna’s ability to see potential in what some would consider trash is inspiring.

Donna’s Upcycling Work on Display at Flight 112 Organic Wine House

Donna recently received an opportunity to display her Upcycled Art at Flight 112, an Organic Wine House in Downtown Elmhurst, Illinois. The upscale design makes for a great location for artist’s to feature (and often sell) their creations.

A little story from Donna about finding and upcycling the broken violins:

“A friend Bart needed help moving from the very over stuffed estate of his partner, Stan. Stan was a luthier and repaired violins and other instruments for the Chicago Symphony and local schools. Stan passed away 2 years ago and now it was finally time for Bart to clean out.
Instead of these violins ending up in a dumpster I thought they would be great to use for some art projects.”

It turned out that Flight 112 was the perfect place for Donna to display her new upcycling projects.

More about Donna Castellanos

Donna’s creative magic is breath taking, and she’s always willing to share her passion. As a respected member of Elmhurst’s Art Community, she teaches children of all ages how to unleash their creativity through various forms of art, including upcycling projects, at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Her artwork, which will include plenty upcycling projects, is going to be on display at Elmhurst’s Art in the Park this summer, along with the work of other reputed artists. Without a doubt, there will be plenty of upcycling ideas for aspiring creatives that want to join Donna in rescuing once loved things.