“Everyone has choices to make in their lives. One avenue I have chosen is to recycle scrap materials to create my art forms. To recycle is to take special care of ourselves, the future of our children…our planet. Please Recycle.”

Before, during and after college Kathryn Arnett taught Special Education, mostly to trainable mentally challenged and non-ambulatory children and adults. In 1987 she moved to Crested Butte, Colorado. There she started a sewing operation for children’s hand sewn, painted clothing. After 4 years of too much snow and cold she moved to Corrales, New Mexico, continuing her clothing business, but needing a change.

The business, “Kathryn Arnett Recycled”, was started in Corrales, New Mexico. The business represents the design, production and marketing of sculptural furniture and accessories made from recycled materials. Kathryn’s approach to object making is that of an outsider to the art world, the work being spontaneous and visionary.

Kathryn’s first trip to the scrap yard was in 1991. The enormous piles of scrap metal and huge machinery touched a creative part of her that instantaneously flowed. The scrap metal pieces became basket forms in her mind. She bought 300 pounds of scrap metal, which was the beginning of recycling tons of metal, wood, and wire into her art forms.

The manufacturing methods used to create the furniture, candlesticks, frames, lamps, basketry, angels, hearts, birdhouses, flowers, and other accessories are those of a basic machine and wood shop. Welding, riveting, wiring, sheet metal fabrication and wood shop skills are the primary processes utilized.

When Kathryn originally started making her art, it was piece by piece. She would see a piece of scrap metal and instantly visualize a created art form. Much of the time she designs outside using the natural color spectrum……the succession of leaves changing from green to yellow to red, or even how the bark on trees change as it ages. Kathryn plucks ideas from nature and dreams about many of her designs. When she creates with something from the past it integrates into the present. The resonance she has with the scrap materials and the flow of creativity they inspire……opens up a part of her that is a rebirth. She feels very fortunate to have a career she is so passionate about.

Starting with a few quality art fairs around the United States, the success of the business soon provided the opportunity to focus on the wholesale market. “Recreated Art and Soul” now sells to about 1500 galleries, shops, garden centers and catalogs in the United States and Europe. The business has acquired many prestigious accounts and clientele including Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog, Harmony Catalog, Cold Water Creek, Femail Creations, Habitat For Humanity Catalog, J. Jill, Jackson Perkins, Ballard Designs, Art Elements, and Seeds of Change. Many articles have been published in the New York Times, Country Gardens, San Francisco Chronicle, Mary Engelbreit’s…Home Companion, Home and Garden, Country Homes, Architectural Digest and several art books have all published articles about her and her philosophy.

Kathryn’s “One of a Kind” pieces have been featured in both individual and group shows and her work has been commissioned for several large scale projects, among them the 10 individually welded and sculpted eight foot crosses and candelabras featured in ”The House Of Blues” garden in New Orleans, the oversize Christmas decorations for the Bell South’s building in Nashville, Tennessee as well as the Christmas decorations for the Warner Brothers Studio in Nashville. While President Clinton was in office she was invited to design an angel ornament for the White House Christmas tree the year it featured American Handmade Crafts. Kathryn is known as a Folk Artist and her work has been featured for three different years in the front window display during New York’s annual American Folk Art Show.

Kathryn’s clients have included Oprah Winfrey, Cher, Gregory Peck, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Halle Berry, Gloria Estafan, Michael Jackson and many country and western singers living in and around Nashville. Her work has been featured on “Real World”, “Bringing Up Baby”, The Carol Duvall Show and The Home and Garden Show.

Moving to New Orleans in 1995 opened up areas of recycled materials that were not available in New Mexico. There were many old homes each day being torn down or restored. The addition of recycled wood and different metals inspired Kathryn’s flow of creativity in a new direction.

In April of 2000 Kathryn visited Honduras searching for a person to produce her designs. She found someone, they built a factory, and she lived in Honduras for 3 months training staff to reproduce her art. It was the hardest, yet most rewarding thing she had ever done up to that time. She only knew a few Spanish words and mostly trained by example. After 2 ½ years of commuting between New Orleans and Puerto Cortes she decided that the production facility was not working up to the standards she had set for the people or the product. It was time to move forward in a new direction.

Kathryn moved to Honduras in December 2002 and built a factory to oversee production of her art from start to finish. It was in a small village where the mountains meet the Caribbean. The rivers, the islands, the jungles are truly beautiful there. At it's height, She employed 45 - 50 people.

Finding recycled material in Honduras was a lot of fun for Kathryn. One of her designs, “This Flower Rocks” (a flower with a river rock attached to it) gave her a great excuse to go hang out in nature and design. Driving along a road that goes to the dump she saw a lady with plastic bottles strung on a rope. She had been to the dump and picked up bottles and washed them to sell to people who cannot afford to buy plastic bottles from the store. Kathryn employed her to gather these plastic containers and integrated them into her art.

Living and doing business in Honduras was one of the biggest challenge of Kathryn’s life. She learned so much, at a deeper level than ever before, about appreciating what she has because so many in our world have so little. The Honduras factory was closed in June 2009 when Kathryn moved back to the U.S.

Kathryn looks forward to meeting people everyday that share her views and yours about putting less in our landfills. She appreciates your interest in her art forms and your support in the quest for a better environment through art!