Thursday, January 21, 2010

Upcycled Art - The Art of Christine Terrell

Upcycled Art
The Art of Christine Terrell

By JoAnna Ordóñez

These days we are all looking for ways to conserve, reuse and recycle objects into useful and practical things we can all use. One Austin artist is doing just that by re-working metal tins and all their fun designs into wearable art.

Christine Terrell of Adaptive Reuse calls herself a “reckless recycler” but you will find some fun and exciting designs in her line of upcycled jewels.
Terrell, grew up on the east coast and while in college found art and began to study it.

She choose to pursue art as a career and received a degree in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. For many years, she worked as a designer and then decided to move to Austin. Terrell had dabbled in different areas of art from accessories to welding and finally found her niche. Terrell added, “Metalwork had been calling me since I left off welding classes when I was pregnant. My house provides no place to safely use explosive fuels and high temperature flames, so I decided to work with only ‘cold’ processes.

As luck would have it, those techniques work great with non-traditional materials.” She then followed her graphic design instincts and moved into the area of reusing metals to create one of a kind jewelry pieces that incorporated images, color and shapes in her designs.
“The older I get the more making is like breathing. It is my passion. When people talk about relaxing they are usually envisioning laying on a beach or hiking a mountain. Though I can enjoy both of those activities, when I think about truly relaxing, I think about standing at my workbench uninterrupted for an entire day” added Terrell.

Terrell has a great knack for finding objects that will make great pieces including rings, bracelets, necklaces and more. “I am a thrift store connoisseur. I’m especially drawn to materials that are decidedly not precious–things that some might even consider to be trash.” Most of her pieces take sections of old decorative tins and containers that are then cut to pieces and reworked to create one of a kind pieces of wearable upcycled art with an almost endless variety of raw materials with bright and exciting graphics, you never know what you’ll find in her pieces, from Lone Star to Mary Jane Candies and more.

Her most interesting pieces come in the form of what she calls her “basin forms”. Each tin is pre-selected and then circles are punched in strategic places and then formed into shallow bowls with the printed side showing. Terrell’s charm bracelets are wonderful and have great movement with well over 20 basin charms attached for a super fun and sassy effect.

You can find Christine’s work at shops around the Austin area including Creatures Boutique (1206 S. Congress), Women and Their Work Gift Shop (1710 Lavaca), and the Austin Museum of Art Gift Shop (823 Congress) and online at and

JoAnna Ordóñez is a local glass artisan and owner of Vidriosa Glassworks. Her work can be found at The Lucky Lizard (412 East 6th Street), Things She Adores (2306 E. Cesar Chavez, Suite 101), The Oasis Gift Shop (Comanche Lane) and Local Art Shows. Visit her online at

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