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The Art of Recycling in Visual Arts

It is always great to come across local talent who are also passionate about the environment, and how they not only use art to express their love of the natural world, but also take great consideration in causing no harm to the environment while making their creations. I recently discovered one of these talented people during a chat across a lunchroom table one day with a fellow volunteer at Gecko Environment Council.

Petra Hatu, when she isn’t doing a great job in Gecko’s admin department, finds time to express her love for the environment while also indulging in her love of creating through visual arts.

Petra has always been passionate about art, and also does lead lighting pieces, Hebel carving, bone carving, wood turning and many other art forms. Today she spoke to me briefly about her love of mosaics, and in particular, the rewards derived from recycling when turning ‘trash into treasures’.

What got you interested in using recycled materials in your mosaic pieces?

Petra: I’m passionate about art … especially anything involving glass. From old bottles to glass windows taken out of old Queenslander houses. Some of the heritage windows have beautiful colours and textures and it would be a shame for these to end up in landfill.

What types of things do you use for your mosaics?

Petra: Recycled glass, along with stones and gems and bought materials can be transformed into wonderful works of art.

Can you tell us a little bit about the guitar piece?

Petra: This preloved Guitar went to my musician friend Derrick in Arizona in the USA. I’ve used a variety of window glass along with gems, beads and cathedral glass and some glass tiles. This guitar was given to me by a friend, but you can find old musical instruments in many places like shops and online sales groups.

Are there any considerations with the types of objects you can apply mosaics to?

Petra: Any surface that is clean and does not expand in heat can be used. Glass, terracotta, stones, wood, cement board, metal etc. Let your imagination run wild! Old crockery can be useful too. Some plates have been used on the inside of this bowl in this birdbath. They can be smashed into pieces with a hammer or cut with tile nippers. All sorts of materials can be used in mosaic work, from coins to buttons and beads, and any odd gimmick one might think of could be added to the piece. I like using stones in some of my works for the earthy look. Or cut up old mirrors and DVD’s to add special effects. Even glass bottles.

What advice do you have for sourcing objects for use?

Petra: Have a look in your own home or ask family and friends for useful items if you’re intent on pursuing this hobby. I source my materials from all kinds of places like second hand shops and some are left overs from tile places and tilers as well as from internet sites like Gumtree and eBay with old stock.

What are you working on now?  

Petra: The next project that I’m working on right now is made up from the interior of laptops. I take out the interesting parts and arrange them on a board to suit my project along with other interesting bits and pieces.

What other plans do you have for art pieces in the future?  

Petra: In the near future, I’m hoping to create some larger futuristic installation art pieces, as well as giving some art classes to the community.

Petra Hatu lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. You can view some of her art works at PJ Mosaics at  and

Disclaimer: “This article is in line with Gecko’s values of connecting people with the natural world so that they may become active stewards of our unique environment. Gecko however, is neither promoting or endorsing the product/s and/or service/s mentioned in this article. It is entirely up to the individual reading the article to decide if they are interested in the commercial opportunities offered.”

Image Credits: All images ©Petra Hatu. All Rights Reserved.

*Link to Article as Published on Gecko Hills to Headlands.








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