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Artist uses discarded tea bags and egg shells as ‘blank canvasses’   

Artist Ruby Silvious is getting inspired by using waste materials within her work. Image: Ruby Silvious

New York-based Ruby Silvious also uses discarded pistachio nut shells as bases for her intricate paint work. She says that reimagining waste materials as art can inspire new forms of creativity.

In the world of 58-year-old Silvious, there is little need to head to the craft shop for supplies: sweet wrappers replace origami paper and pistachio nut shells are blank canvases too.

“There’s something about rescuing or resurrecting discarded materials that appeal to me,” she explains. “I often find visual elements that are worth exploring in ordinary, found objects.”

Silvious uses gouache and watercolours to paint egg shells, carefully-drawn street scenes taking shape beneath the jagged shards of shell. She has also made papier mache bowls from used tea bags and is now creating a kimono from old paint chips.

“Growing up in the Philippines, we had very limited resources,” she says. 

“My parents owned a small printing shop and I remember having to reuse scrapped paper even back then.”

Ruby is bringing a new perspective to her art by painting within egg shells. Image: Ruby Silvious

“In the process, if I can contribute to the environmental health of our planet by minimising waste even in the smallest way, by reusing or incorporating recycled items into my art, then I feel I have done a small part.”

Silvious hopes that people leave exhibits of her work changed in some way, perhaps with a renewed belief in the art of the possible.

 And are there any recycled materials she is eyeing up for a creative project in the future?

“With the substantial increase in online shopping over the years, there has been a proportional increase in corrugated board packaging,” she says.

“I’m still noodling around some ideas. There are endless possibilities there.”

Visit to find out more. 

By Lucy

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