Junk Reef Collage Designs

Junk packaging for reef collage


Our recycling bin fills up every week with potential art materials. It is good to connect with all this packaging to remind ourselves how much waste we produce, but also to try and make use of a glorious range of free art materials!


One of our precious ecosystems that is suffering from our wasteful lifestyles is the Great Barrier Reef. So this week I have decided to try and appreciate the incredible range of forms that grow on the reef that teem with life and colour.

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I found in my recycling bin some cardboard packaging and an old magazine. These make for terrific collage. I cut a range of organic shapes out of these materials, some long skinny seaweed types, other short lumpy coral shapes. Look at Henri Matisse for shape inspiration. They don’t need to be perfect, the wonkier the better, and don’t forget your scraps can offer some pretty excellent inspiration for new shapes! 

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The background you use is up to you, I have chosen a piece of A4 dark blue cardboard. Alternatively, you could start with white and do a washy watercolour background. I build the layers of the reef starting from the middle of the image and then work down to the foreground to achieve a layered and dense reef effect. 


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I love the accidental mish-mash of colours, shapes, textures that is achieved by working this way - just like a real reef.

Check out these awesome art works which are also inspired by our beautiful reef, and also the problem with water pollution .........

Artists: Ken and Julia Yonetani, Sweet Barrier Reef. 

Below the Tide Line at GOMA by Erub Arts, Marion Gaemers and Lynnette Griffiths. 

I hope this project is something you might consider in the coming weeks with your kids or class. Let us know what you think, and share with us your awesome reef designs!

Until next week.


Tracy xx

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