Everyday Art Sculptures Using the Trash You Throw Away

Next time you dredge your pockets of paper stubs and bottle caps and cast them in the trash, spare a thought for the potential art you’re callously consigning to the landfill. Lydia Ricci, the infinitely creative artist blessed with divine dexterity and a masterful eye for re-purposing, has developed a remarkable skill for sculpting one man’s trash into her art blog’s treasure, sticking and cutting these scraps into charming miniature objects in her ongoing series: From Scraps.


Lydia quit her publishing job to study printmaking in Cortona, Italy, one Summer, developing an experimental and unique approach in her classes:

“Printmaking is often a more precise medium and I could tell certain studio-mates were not completely taken with my rather “free” approach”,


she confides, but she loved the surprise that came from the revelation of the final print. One of the offshoots of this blossoming passion is From Scraps, which she continues to work on alongside running design studio Introduction and launching Podclubs, a monthly curated bulletin of the top podcasts the 21st century has to offer.


Where does such a flair for the fiddly and the fabulous come from? The Plus find out…

TP: Have you always been good with your hands?
Lydia Ricci:
I think so. I like to work with my hands AND I like to talk with my hands.

TP: What sort of objects are the most difficult to make?
Ironically, anything 3-dimensional! I have a tough time seeing depth, and I can feel my brain straining to figure out which direction I should cut a piece of board to get the right angle when I am initially shaping an object. But the scraps and glue are very forgiving. I have never created a person, animal or anything that breathes. I just have no idea how I would approach these subjects. Maybe this is an opportunity for collaboration?


TP: You’ve done a number of cars; what’s the attraction?
When I left New York, moved to a town outside of Philadelphia and was forced to begin driving again. I loathed driving. To say it was a phobia is an understatement. I was not even a good passenger. I made The Dodge to capture this feeling. I continued to only make cars for a while.


TP: Most people try to reduce the clutter, but you’ve re-purposed it: what’s the attraction to found, rescued materials? Have you always been one to save things?
I have always saved things that have some wear and tear and significance. I have these two big brown boxes that I have added to through the years; I fill them with items that are too good to be recycled, and I go through them regularly for inspiration. Today I actually have more like 8 boxes and a table and little boxes overflowing with scraps…


TP: Does it run in the family, do you think?
My dad never threw anything away. I mean NOTHING. There is a big bowl of rusty nails among the chaos in his garage… This can be extremely frustrating at times, but lately it has proven to be extremely inspiring. Every time I visit him I leave with a new box of clutter… I mean, inspiration.


TP: Could you talk us through your process?
I keep a small lists of objects that I look forward to making. Typically they are associated with a recent memory or incident, and I often write out the story too. What is strange is that when I sit down to start making something, the scraps that are used really present themselves. The 1980s plastic orange cassette tape called to me while I was making a pin ball machine. A pile of lists which my grandfather had logged his daily expenses on became the foundation to build a cash register, old photo album pages became the paper fabric I wove to make a chaise lounge chair. Some staples (I love, love, love, staples and staplers) became speakers on a boom box.


TP: What’s next for you?
I want to make a short movie with the objects. Last summer I began to interview people about how they learned to to drive. I want to put those stories with the paper pieces.

TP: Is there anything that you do take pleasure in throwing away, if not scraps?
Junk mail. I hate it.


TP: If you weren’t an artist and designer, what would you want to be?
Something that would require working with baby tigers. Or maybe a waitress? I was a bus-girl, but never moved up the ranks to waitress.

MidLife Crisis Convertible
Summer Chaise

The Making Process: