+

When Australian artist Sean Avery got his first MP3 player, he decided to give his CDs a brand new life.

Avery, a writer, illustrator, sculptor, and teacher by trade, decided to crack and crumble his albums to create beautiful, imaginative works of art instead, like this:


"Bear" (mixed media). All photos via Sean Avery, used with permission.

"I love the idea of deconstructing everyday objects and reforming them into organic shapes," Avery said via e-mail. "Materials are cheap and people have an instant connection with the work when they finally identify that it's made from objects they handle every day."

"Bullfinch" (mixed media). This little bird is only 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) tall.

Some of Avery's most iconic pieces of art are plant and animal sculptures made from up-cycled CDs on wire mesh frames.

Friends and fans often donate material to Avery, and he procured his first batch of old discs from his dad's office. But he's not afraid to source materials for his art the old fashioned way, too.

"I like to hunt around scrap yards for stranger pieces of obsolete tech," he said.

"Squidy" (mixed media). The legs are kinetic, and the entire sculpture is close to 40 inches long.

Though Avery is also an illustrator, he often lets passion and instinct guide his creations.

Before to starting a new piece, he searches for a variety of images of each animal, but he no longer draws a blueprint or elaborate sketch.

"I used to try and draw my animals to better understand the form, but it sort of sucked the fun out of the process because all I wanted to do was build."

"Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

And build he does.

Avery uses simple kitchen scissors to cut out the shapes he needs. Then he arranges them by size and color and glues each plastic shard one by one onto a wire frame.

A close-up of "Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

Each sculpture takes one to two weeks of work, along with lots of hot glue (and caffeine).

"I make lots of mistakes and I burn myself constantly," Avery said. "I find CD shards in my hair, shower, bed and cereal for weeks after I've finished a major project."

Avery constructs pieces large and small for clients and personal projects. His work ranges in size from just 6 inches to large creations a few feet wide. Each one is a vibrant, bold expression that begs to be touched.

"Pangolin" (mixed media) This piece was made out of Nespresso capsules for the company's Project Upcycle campaign.

"Peregrine Falcon 2" (mixed media). This commissioned piece required 40 CDs!

And Avery's not the only one turning trash into treasure, either.

In 2014, he represented Australia at the International From Waste to Art Exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan. At this annual event, artists and makers from all over the world exhibit their pieces made from domestic waste. It's a unique opportunity for conservation and fine art to come together and encourage an important conversation.

"Chameleon 2" (mixed media).

Avery's work is the perfect example of repurposing waste to make something beautiful.

The average person creates around 4.3 pounds of trash and waste each day. And nearly 55% of the waste generated in the U.S. ends up in landfills, which are quickly running out of space.

"Purple Flowers" (mixed media), a collaborative effort of Avery and Caris Bailey.

While not all of our personal refuse can be turned into works of art, much of it can be composted, recycled, or repurposed.

Sometimes it's just a matter of taking the time to sort and sift and perhaps to tap into our creative impulses.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

It's Fat Bear Week and we pick the winner.

Everyone knows that fat animals are infinitely more visually appealing, much to veterinarians' collective dismay. They may not be at their pinnacle of health, yet we love them anyway, especially when they're babies. Bears, however, are supposed to get chunky so they get a pass. Before the winter when they hibernate, they're all about feeding their faces and storing fat for the winter. Wildlife archivists Explore has put all these fat bears in one place so we can vote on who gets to be supreme Fat Bear. Fat Bear Week is an annual event that anyone with internet access can participate in.

Keep ReadingShow less

She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

Keep ReadingShow less