One man’s trash, another’s treasure.

When pregnant with my first child and an urge to do something creative, I decided to try something a little different and something without the chemicals or fumes of oil painting.


Idly flipping through a catalog one afternoon, I spied a Mexican folk art mirror that had a beautiful frame overlaid with squares of soda and beer cans. It was so simple yet richly colorful and reflective. I immediately thought of doing an entire piece of “can” art, not just a frame. Given my affinity for quilts, I found more inspiration there.

In the weeds

My husband thought I had gone just a little bit crazy as I was now can obsessed. Not much a soda or beer drinker, I was left with picking up aluminum cans others tossed out on streets and sidewalks, poking around in weeds and under bushes if I saw a likely candidate there. Sometimes I would return from a morning run holding three empty beer cans.

Armed with tin snips, tiny brad nails, and plywood scraps from the lumber yard, I was happily piecing together fume-free art in no time. I was expecting color and pattern of course but I was surprised how incredibly light-filled the final pieces were. The metallic glitter and reflections are fairly subtle but also very active. Take one step to the left or right and the color play shifts. It’s also tempting to reach out and touch the surface for some reason and, being metal, it hurts nothing to get tactile with it.

Soda can collage art.

Gradient bands of color done in small triangles. 20″x30″ aluminum on plywood.