Art from trash

Namumulot lang ako ng kalat at basura, na naging art, na naging gamit din sa bahay,” (I pick up litter and trash, that I turn into art and functional items for the home) says Jun Cruz Reyes, one of the country’s finest literary writers. 

Reyes owns a property in Bulacan, which he is turning into a museum-library-gallery. Aside from being a writer, he is also a renowned visual artist and sculptor. His main house is a three-storey structure, but the writer’s studio has a fourth floor. This is his working area, where he thinks and rests. 

Staircase’s baluster is made of bougainvillea roots and other found objects.

Reyes works with available materials, like recycled old doors, in construction and design. He created windows that can provide a healthy supply of fresh air and natural light, allowing him to save money on electricity. On clear evenings, there is a breathtaking view of the moon and stars from the top floor. In the daytime, the same space offers an expansive view of Cavite, Metro Manila, Bataan, Zambales, and Pampanga.

Phoenix. A narra lampshade crafted from section of a felled tree.

His home consumes very little energy and his kitchen waste is composted and turned into fertilizer for his gardens. Outdoors, his vegetables are planted along with ornamentals, and he uses found objects like rocks, iron vats (talyasi) and frying pans in the garden’s landscaping.

Even if you’re not an artist, you too can turn some of your trash into beautiful art pieces for your home. It’s a sustainable solution to the problem of too much non-biodegradable trash. Reyes hopes that more Filipinos will explore ways to save energy and recycle garbage and household waste. 

A bench made of old boat wood and plough, and part of a vintage sewing machine.

Before buying the next decor or home furniture, look around first to see if there is anything that you can repurpose. The whole family can even turn this activity into an art project. Because ideally, every member of our household should learn to do their part in conserving our planet’s limited resources.