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Your trash is their treasure

On a pedestal display at Studio 18 in the Pines, Casey Eckels' sculpture "Blackbird the Viking" is a monument to silly design and found objects. The creature's hourglass-shaped body is composed of a pomegranate-juice bottle coated in black feathers and papier-mâché. The helmet consists of a bottle cap and printer-cartridge arms. The warrior's ax is a pen fastened to a wingnut screw, and a broken watchband forms the belt wrapped around the Viking's bulging waist.

"He's a sassy badass, and that's all I care about," says Eckels, of Pompano Beach. She is the founder of the Trash to Treasure Creative Re-Use Center, a nonprofit hosting its seventh annual Trash 2 Art exhibition, starting Friday, Dec. 6, at Studio 18. The juried contest, on display until Dec. 28 at the Pembroke Pines artists' colony, consists of sculptures and installations assembled from objects at Eckel's center, a thrift-store-like warehouse in Fort Lauderdale that receives donated scrap. At Friday's opening reception, cash prizes will be awarded to the artist who can best MacGyver random objects into fascinating art.

Art teacher Noemi Klipfel's shiny "Underwater — Reflect" resembles a largemouth bass built from glued-together CDs. Nanette Saylor, executive director of Trash to Treasure Creative Re-Use Center, also recycles computer media with her entry "Zen of Then #3," a cardboard canvas mounted with floppy discs, CDs, chopsticks and bolts of fabric.

"Artists get encouraged just to play with trash," Saylor says of the exhibition. "We're growing up in a world where people waste, so we're trying to encourage people to redirect their imaginations toward recycling. It's emotional, on a gut level, to see the clever possibilities of taking something discarded be turned into something beautiful."

Add "whimsical" to those descriptions. In Eugenio Jaramillo's framed owl assemblages, the construction worker at Miami International Airport harvested luggage zipper pulls that were caught and ripped off while traveling on baggage conveyor belts. The metal pulls contain familiar logos — Jeep, Marco Polo, Charlie Sport, Kenneth Cole — and compose the owl's plumage. Meanwhile, Broward artist Susan Q. Wood presents "Beach Buffet," consisting of plastic forks, spoons, knives and one spork; and "Red Tide," a collection of doll parts and other random objects. Every object was harvested during a trash pickup on South Florida's beaches.

On a pedestal near "Blackbird the Viking," Dania Beach artist Diane Caulfield-Dorn has a display of three purses crocheted from the VHS tapes of "Terms of Endearment," "Forrest Gump" and "Dirty Dancing." The purses rest on boxes of Milk Duds and other movie-theater candy. Lisa Max, of Hollywood, collaborated on several of the nine found-object works with her 6-year-old daughter, Arabella, including "Rocket's Red Glare," a 6-foot-tall cardboard missile mounted to the base of a Shop-Vac.

"I see it right away, the recyclable potential of these things. I've got a knack for it," Max says. "Once I start crafting, I can't stop."

Trash 2 Art

When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, until Dec. 27

Where: Studio 18 in the Pines, 1101 Poinciana Drive, Pembroke Pines

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-961-6067 or

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