(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Most artists will tell you of the muse that stirs their body of work. Homemakers Haripriya Ganesula and Vaishnavi Pai are no exception.
Just that their inspiration is not what many would otherwise consider muse-worthy.
'It's all junk' they maintain literally. The two women are among the many who believe that eco-friendly and recycled art could help make a difference.
For instance the wind chime at the entrance of Haripriya's flat in Al Khuwayr is the by-product of a 1.5lt Mountain Dew bottle.
So are the door hangings which were made from pull-tabs of beverage cans and the tribal masks that were crafted out of newspaper.
Had it not been for her genius they would have been part of another mound of rotting garbage. But Haripriya a self-taught artist has always seen 'refuse' as raw material for her work.
'You can make almost anything and everything from waste' she believes and doesn't shy from calling herself a 'garbage hoarder'.
In fact she has an entire cupboard dedicated to scrap materials.
'I don't throw my newspapers plastic bottles foam wrappings bags or boxes and old CDs. Even my friends and neighbours hand me their waste piles because they know I'd try and make something useful out of them' she says.
Haripriya's affair with waste started out as a hobby when she was around seven years old.
'I was always creatively inclined...and since waste material was readily available it became the source for all my work.'
Over 20 years on 'the hobby' still fascinates her; running a blog and having received encouragement for her work on the Facebook page 'Crafty in Oman' has only fuelled this passion further.
Vaishnavi another waste hoarder decided to dedicate an entire room for her junk.
'Why to waste waste' she asks '...when you can make the best things out of it.' Vaishnavi employed weaving and quilling techniques to create laundry vegetable baskets vases and pots from newspaper.
She also spends her spare time doing what she calls 'paper painting' sticking shreds of magazine and glossy tabloid covers together to create landscapes and human portraits.
It's a combination of talent and the ability to gauge 'potential' in waste that spurs Haripriya and Vaishnavi. Not hard to predict that being environmentally conscientious is second nature to them. 'This is my own small contribution towards helping restore the balance in the environment' Haripriya says.
And they tried to set the precedent from home itself. Everything from their home decor to pen stands baskets kitchen magnets and storage boxes are made out of newspapers empty bottles and cans.
'Something as insignificant as egg shells empty cardamom pods and vegetable peels could also be put to great use' claims Vaishnavi. 'I am always looking out for things that could be made from what many think is garbage' she adds.
It's a good habit argues Vaishnavi 'and nothing like starting the practice from home'. With her friends requesting her to make them newspaper baskets and boxes she believes that the idea of eco-friendly living is spreading even though slowly.
But is recycled art beginning to take centrestage. Raya al Maskari who founded the Oman Recycled Arts Foundation (ORAF) over two years ago to encourage those keen on working with recycled art thinks otherwise. She cannot hide her disappointment at the 'lack of support and response' she got for her initiative.
'The idea was to create a group of environmentally conscious artists but nobody really came forward' she says adding that either there are very few people who take interest in recycled art or that such artists are not promoted well enough.
'Making something out of nothing is a talent in itself...especially out of material that many of us consider rubbish' she says.
'We don't realise the harmful effects of dumping plastic bottles and polythene bags in the environment. We'd rather do something that causes minimum impact' she says rather than wait for the right time.
Take bunch of newspapers tear them into small pieces and soak in water overnight. Next day boil the mixture for some time cool it and make a paste. Don't add too much water - it should feel like clay dough. Now add salt a little flour and glue and mix together till it forms dough-like consistency. Grease the palm of your hands with oil shape the dough as desired and place it on a plastic sheet to dry. It takes two to three days to dry. Once dried paint it with acrylic colours. Apart from masks several other craft items can be made using the same method.
Source: Haripriya Ganesula (www.riyacrafts.blogspot.com)