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Discovering the neighborhood by observing details
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Searching for "urban" ornaments
Ornaments are everywhere!
What do they look like ? Where do they come from ? How could you reuse them ?  

Why to work with ornaments ?

Ornaments have dozens of different uses, functions and meanings broadcasting universal and very specific messages at the same time. Their main characteristics that make them apt to reuse and recycle :

  • they are free from ideology still they are closely connected to ethnic, religious or cultural identities

  • they can be adapted to many different material and digital artistic medias

  • there are easy and simple methods to create them even without having special artistic skills

  • creating them has a therapeutic aspect and a calming effect.

  • They are everywhere and it's possible to approach many different topics through them.

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Work in group : 
Document your own choices but also those of the others! These pictures and videos can help to tell your story later on.    

Even though you work with images, don't forget what each photo you take and you stock requires energy and even digital items has a polluting effect on environment! Therefore try not to keep thousands of images, keep the best ones and delete the rest immediately!
You may also combine. this  urban one in the park to find interesting forms and patterns.
Discover your home : finding recyclable and recyled patterns, ornaments, objects and materials
Objects with stories, remember where they come from, what is their story ? How did you get them, to whom they used to belong to ?  What could you reuse as ornament or pattern ?
When taking pictures, use the macro mode as well to find inspiration in the details! Afterwords, you can enlarge them and discover a wholly new universe.
Now, look around again at home to find things that you recycle naturally : bottles, containers, bags, papers, etc. 
Visiting exhibitions or/and meet artists and craftsmen
The exercise when visiting the exhibition is to reveal either recycled patterns, for instance from other cultures or from your own culture of origin. Observe how they have been transformed to make the correspond the new functions and to transmit new messages. How were they adapted to a hosting culture's taste.
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Cartier et les arts de l’Islam.Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris 2022
Cartier's designers made researches on Islamic sacred geometry and adapted them to luxury goods, such as diamond jewelry.
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They also reused objects, such as findings coming from Iran or India like this enameled insert on this small make-up box.
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Anni et Josef Albers, Musée de l'art moderne, Paris 2011.
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Josef  Albers' "Gitterbild" (1921)  was made of salvaged materials from the rubbish tip in Weimar
Anni Albers' Necklce (1940)  was made of a drain strainer and paper clips.
Waste art
Animal statues of recycled metal waste, Szentendre, 2021
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Recycled 'rubbish' masks
Ex Africa, Contemporary African Art, Musée quai Branly, Paris, 2021.
2. CREATIVE PHASE

The objective of parallel activities is to discover different levels and practices of recycling from natural, unconscious recycling at home, through industrial recycling to recycling practices in luxury good making and in art objects.

Collecting things
&
Transforming things
Based on the techniques, materials, ornaments and practices discovered during the 1st phase, you can create your own 'documentary' about your own creation(s). 
To make it, you'll need some materials that you can find in the street, at home or in the nature and you'll also have to discover some creative techniques.

Drawing and coloring techniques

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Such as this simple wooden plate that has been transformed into a clock decorated with patterns from Islamic geometric art. Watch how : 
For a slow and more detailed version click here.
OrnaMental maps technique
OrnaMental maps is a technique based on a half conscious way of creating patterns. You can integrate ornaments that you have discovered previously but you let yourself drawing and link patterns to each other with lines or empty surfaces. The map--like patters become, in this way, mental and ornamental maps et the same time. With this simple drawing and coloring technique, you can decorate anything. You can draw or paint on wood, on metal, on glass or plastique : any kind of object that you've found.
You can do it individually but you can also renew a piece of furniture together within a group. Each of you can work on a part of it, then you can link our ornaments to each-other.
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You will also learn how to document your work and share its story. 
You can do it with an edited set of small videos  and photos.
But you can also do it  through a series of photos, showing your work in progress.
You can also add stories by interviewing each other or by describing the object's unique and personal story :
"This shelf was thrown away by our neighbors when they moved out. We didn't  really like them, not matter why, and the fact that this object was judged by them as something worthless made me feel like to give it a new like, new values ans a new message..."
When working in group, you can set up the workshop in different manners. Either you work on the same object, either each of you picks up something else and you create a set of objects, like we did in the OrnaMental space project,  to create a whole univers of objects.
 
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If you do so, try to find a compromise within the group, for instance on the color scale you use, so that you can create objects which communicate with each-other, just like you when you're making them and document it.

 
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You can  begin by drawing the outlines,
and gradually fill your drawing with colors.


 
Use acrylic paint or ink. They have vivid colors, they dry quickly and you can use it on most  off the materials, even on metal, glass or plastic.
You can even mix  paint and ink  for even more vivid colors.


 
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You can also draw ornaments first on paper, like these inspired by Arabic writing and machines. Then you choose details and adopt it on you object.

 
If you the object you've found is imperfect,  you can hide the imperfection with the paint like these mould stains on this red box we found in a local flee-market.

 
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If you choose voluminous objects with large surfaces, pay attention to how  detailed your patterns are. If there are too many details,you may  need many-many hours to  finish it.   

 
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Otherwise, you can  choose to recycle smaller objects.

 
Or even very small ones...
Which you can transform into different object, such as jewelry
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With small objects, such as jewelry, you  can also practice the macro mode photography to show textures and details.
You can also learn more easily some basic tricks in how to touch up images, how to assemble them with text, etc.

It's far easier to work with them than with complex images.


 

Assembling techniques

Together with materials and ornaments, we can also recycle techniques. Different jewelry making techniques can be a good start to create assembled  objects. Imagine jewelry as a miniature installation in which you can put together different  recycled objects by fixing them together mostly by metal wires that can also be recycled.

 
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Recyclable objects are nearly everywhere. For this example of a simple assembling technique we've chosen some old buttons which use to belong to an old shirt that  became unwearable. 
Here, the crystals from an old fashioned dusty luster found in the street transformed into earrings.

 
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There are plenty different ways to use wires to assemble things but also to  create or recreate forms, inspired by the forms of letters, leafs, branches, berries and so on. Tutorials will help you to find out more about them and about the few simple tools that you'll need to work with them.

 
With this technique you can create any kind of installation, not necessarily jewelry. It is only a question of proportions.

This installation, entitled "Suspended Sea" representing plastic waste sounding and looking like small sea stones was also created by an. assembling technique used in jewelry making :




 
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Molding techniques

With this technique, you can recycle nearly any kind of material such as organic household waste, expired grains or spices, dry leafs or berries, even plastic waste.
Integrating organic waste into your creations can also have a strong ecologic message.



 
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Poppy seeds
Brown flax
Sand
Paprika
Quinoa
To use molding technique, you will need to work with resin. We'll help you with some tutorials.

You'll be able to play with forms, textures but also with transparency.
You can  turn  them into small objects, assemble them to create installations but you can also create larges surfaces with interesting textures. 
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Recycling autumn leaves
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You can experiment with many other things such as :  
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Collage and mosaic techniques

This technique can be used to transform different images or patterns you've collected into different objects. You don't even have to draw, it's enough to print your patterns to work with them. Let's see a few examples foe what you can do with simple square or triangle shaped paper-cuts.  


 
An old book shelf transformed into a board game called "Zahrafa" (Ornament in Arabic). The Islamic patterns were printed for a color-book, cut into pieces and stuck onto the shelf to form labyrinth like track for the players.
You can also create your tokens with the same technique
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The striking thing about board-games is that you can invent your our own rules, write it down and transmit different messages - about the importance of collaboration, compromises, mutual aid and attention to each other - through the symbolic meanings of the game.  
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Mosaics with Islamic quotes in kufi style
You can  also create decorative panels with this mosaic technique and recycle ornaments or even writing : words or sentences either as ornaments or as specific messages.
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The object you create can have multiple functions too like this other board game called "Thuluth" helping to enrich vocabulary in Arabic which is a triangle shaped bookshelf at the same time.
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With the same technique, you can also create puzzle games :
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To make the pieces more resistant, you can varnish them or even use resin with a glazing technique :


 

Animation techniques

Even if you work first with materials, your final outcome may not be a material one. Today, you have plenty of online available and free tools which can help you to transform a small series of sequential images into animated movies or GIF files.
You can create small visuals stories on the computer but also with your smartphone by simply taking images. Let's see a few examples!



 
This small animated movie has been made by the ancient technique of paper cuts. They were moved step by step and one by one and we took a photo of each movement. Then the images were edited simply by putting one after the other.


 
Here is another way to create animation, based on the same principle of putting together subsequent images. But here the animation was created by erasing the text step by step. Then images were put together  in inverted order to make the text appear gradually.