Kiss of life for old junk

Vibrant Gonubie art teacher scans second-hand stores with her third eye


Forget the expensive décor stores which charge an arm and a leg for even the tiniest trinket – the perfect items for your home could be sitting amongst your household trash.
Remember that bra you no longer wear? Or how about that pair of jeans from 10 years ago that no longer fit?
Don't throw them out. In the words of Gonubie resident Michelle Edouard: “Re-use, recycle and reinvent.”
Edouard, who teaches at newly opened art and craft school Kaleidoscope, over the years has turned common household goods into beautiful décor items.
A bra, treated, painted and fitted with a small block of wood, now hangs from the wall as a plant holder. Edouard calls this a “brasket”.
A small piece of pallet wood, also treated, painted and fitted with two bent forks as handles, now serves as a tea tray. An upside down grater is now a stationery holder while an old doll makes a handy jewellery stand.
The former preschool teacher, who works out of her colourful garage-workshop, said second-hand stores are her perfect hunting ground for materials.
“I love old stuff. I love rescuing things and making them into something new, sort of giving them a new lease on life,” she said.
“There's a wonderful charity shop I love to visit right here in Gonubie. That's my place. You've got to go there with your third eye because when you see stuff, you've got to think ‘what can I make from that’.
“I almost crashed my car the other day because one of my neighbours had put out a bunch of old shoes in their trash outside for collection. I stopped and stuffed all of them into the boot. In my world there’s no such thing as trash. Everything is functional.”
It’s not just décor items Edouard makes – she also paints, sews and crochets. Bursting with intricate detail and colour from her walls are two large canvases of fat ladies Edouard painted a few years ago, and a number of scatter cushions designed and sewed by her adorn the chairs.
Her craft classes include children's workshops, mosaic, “baby picasso” workshops and crochet and coffee groups.
“I love mosaic so I offer beginner mosaic. I've also got a thing called shared craft. Every person has got something artistic that they’ve started but just never got around to finishing. This gives them a chance to get together in the evenings and finish it.
“The baby picasso allows mothers to come with their babies. I give them a board which the mother puts masking tape on, we cover the baby’s body with plastic to protect their clothes and we smear paint onto their hands and feet and they can let their creativity take over and paint whatever they want.
“At the end, the mother has a ‘picasso painting’ she can hang up in her house.
“The coffee and crochet groups are an opportunity for women to bring their crochet projects along, sip some coffee and have a chat while they work.”
Edouard said everyone has an inner artist in them. “They just need to breath deeply and tap into it.”
Her e-mail is

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