Repurposing: New uses for old things

Remember that wad of inoperable watches that stymied me a couple of weeks back?

Thanks to my aunt Jean, I found a Minnesota artist who agreed to turn them into something useful again. Merry Jo “repurposes” junk and turns it into beautiful jewelry. Check out her clever ideas on her blog at Raremare Designs.

When I dropped off my watches last week, Merry Jo told me she would let them speak to her, and then she would know how to use them. That imagery — old broken watches talking — reminded me of the lesson on found object sculpture in a college art class. Found object sculpture describes art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects that are not normally considered art, like toilets or empty pop bottles. The memorials around the country made from World Trade Center girders would be a form of found object sculpture. I used a broken television in my college found art project, and as I recall it spoke “good concept, poor execution” to my professor.

Merry Jo uses old keys, board game pieces, tokens, foreign currency and strange and interesting bits and pieces of found objects in her wearable art, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with using my watches.

A cute cosmetic bag ...

While we’re on the subject of repurposing, I’m thrilled with my new book bag made popular in my little book club by my friend Crystal.

... becomes a great book bag!

She bought a zippered cosmetic bag from Thirty-One Gifts and turned it into a Bible case. There’s enough room in there for the book we’re about to study, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Now I’m looking for repurposing suggestions for this:

Entertaining ideas for using this holey sheet. Not entertaining questions on how it got this way.

It’s the bottom sheet in a matched king-size set. Is it garbage? Or is there a new life in this enormous piece of sage-colored Egyptian cotton with a big hole in it?

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8 responses to “Repurposing: New uses for old things

  1. This is such a small world!!! Merry Jo is my sister-in-law’s sister. I love her work! Is your entire sheet full of holes? If not, you could cut it down and use it as the back of a tie quilt – easy to make, two pieces of fabric, quilt batting, yarn and a sewing machine, if I can do it, it doesn’t take much talent.

    • minnesotatransplant

      Kudos to you for being the only person to offer a suggestion! I don’t quilt, but I will offer it up to someone who does. And talk about a small world! I loved meeting Merry Jo and can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

  2. You’ll have to show me what the repurposed watches turn into – Merry Jo looks like she’s got a LOT of talent!

  3. A ghost costume for hallowe’en (a nauseated ghost perhaps).
    Curtain tie backs, cushion covers, pillowcases, trim for blinds etc to match remaining bedding.
    A dust sheet for when you are painting your next wall (the most likely use for old sheets in our place).
    If you love the colour – use it to make a fabric covered notice-board (add padding, ribbons and pins). Double thickness for strength.
    Drawstring bags for shoes or anything else (hang inside the closet door, more floor space for more shoes!).

    Love the jewellery idea!

    • minnesotatransplant

      OK, brilliant! The curtain idea is intriguing for sure, but the drop cloth idea is definitely a keeper! We’re hoping to repaint the dining room this fall. So I won’t throw it away for sure. Thanks, Annette!

  4. Hello Monica! Wanted to keep you posted on where things are at. So enjoyed our chat the other day and inspiration is just around the corner! Decided to “blog” my way through it so you can follow the progress!

    Take care of you,

    Merry Jo

  5. I saw a picture on Pinterest last night for a bracelet made form the faces of old watches. It was super cute! Wonder what the artist will make from your old watches. Please post pics!

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