Yard art and eco-crafting

1 caterpillar, 1 ladybug, 1 sockyarn mitten

I finished up one of my leftover yarn mittens and blocked it. Despite no calculations on my part  (even knitting deserves mystery and suspense) it looks there will be enough yarn. The whole point of the project was to give leftovers a new purpose, so it would have posed a real ethical dilemma had I needed more of either color.

The caterpillar and ladybug have their own repurposing story. They were made by Leroy, a now-retired stone mason from my hometown. I met Leroy when I worked summers for the City Engineering Department. Sidenote: working for the Engineering Dept. is pretty awesome when you’re sixteen because you get to drive a boxy orange chevy truck circa 1980 outfitted with a cb radio AND you get assigned your own call number on the city frequency.

Anyhow, when Leroy retired he started making yard art out of old tools and hardware – rakes, shovels, pruning shears. He gave my dad this spectacular metal bird made of welded tools as a retirement present. Word got back to Leroy how much I liked his creations and one day caterpillar & ladybug arrived in the mail.

Here in Eugene, my neighbors use a lot of recycled and repurposed materials to create eclectic, funky, and sometimes strange yard decorations (see photos below).  My sense is that their material selection comes from a personal identification with ideas like sustainability, reducing waste, and green living. These terms are prevalent  in the marketing of yard art at local community markets and homegoods stores.

I have been meaning to ask Leroy how he defines his yard art. What are the  intentions behind his choice of materials? Does he identify with terms like eco-crafting, upcycling, or green craft? If not those terms, then the ideas and values they represent?

What about you? Was there a time when you were upcycling or eco-crafting without even knowing what it was called? Did particular people, communities, or websites inspire you to integrate these principles into your work?


Front yard seating area in my neighborhood

Gazing balls made from bowling balls



  1. Rachel Byers · January 21, 2010

    Nice reuse of an AAD paper!

    • foxflat · January 22, 2010

      hahah yes i guess that’s another form of reuse in that post. now i really want the chance to do a bigger research project asking people about their intentions/values related to reuse

      • Kim · February 17, 2010

        I was getting ready to say….”Hey I recognize those photos!”

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