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Bottle sculptures Madeleine creates sculptures using unconventional materials. (Madeleine Wyda, 18, Portfolio, Regional Gold Medal. Images courtesy of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and the Scholastic Art & Writing Award Winners of 2012)

Recycled Sculptures

Madeleine Wyda digs through the trash to find inspiration for her sculptures

<p>Pencil shavings on a sphere</p>

Pencil shavings on a sphere

Madeleine Wyda sees beauty in things people routinely throw away. The 18-year-old artist creates sculptures using glass bottles, cans, and other items rescued from the garbage. A senior at Park School of Baltimore in Brooklandville, Maryland, Madeleine will attend Smith College in the fall. She plans to major in art and math, her two loves, and hopes to continue creating art that makes people think.

When did you first get serious about art?
I’ve been interested in art since I was little. I took my first art class in fourth grade and have studied it ever since.

What inspired these award-winning sculptures?
I saw some Japanese soda bottles at a restaurant and loved the look of them. I had the idea to put them together. I have been assembling sculptures using found objects ever since.

How do you decide the form of each sculpture?
With some, the materials dictate the form. With others, such as the pencil shavings (above left), I chose the sphere-shape. I’m fascinated by the idea of placing trash, which is imperfect, on a mathematically perfect round shape.

What is the biggest challenge of working with found objects?
Working with the Japanese bottles was difficult because collectively, they are heavy and big. I needed a rolling cart to move that finished piece around. Also, finding enough of an object can be tricky.

How do you create your sculptures?
First, I collect the objects. What I do next depends on the material. With the bottles, I washed them, then wrapped wire around the neck of one bottle. I latched it to another and kept binding the bottles until I got the shape right.

Do you have advice for aspiring artists like yourself?
If you have an idea that’s out of the ordinary, don’t hold back. No idea is too crazy as long as you feel you understand it and love it. Do what you’re inspired to do, and go for it!

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Art. For more from Art,
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