trashed studio

This found art and repurposing studio inspires the transformation of the most uncanny, abandoned items into sentimental keepsakes, while breathing creative energy into the most desolate of objects.

interview by ciara bird / photographs by angel butler

Tell us about yourself and your role in the company? My name is Jessica Garmon, and I am the owner/creator of Trashed, A Creative Recycling Studio. I have a degree in Interior Architecture from UNC-Greensboro, and a background in design.

What inspired you to open Trashed? I have a deep passion for all things found and abandoned, and I love to breathe new life into old objects. This, along with the wish to provide a space for others to be openly creative, inspired me to open the doors to Trashed on April 22 (Earth Day) of 2011. In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, I saw a huge need for imagination and free thinking. We are all creative beings, and I wanted to create a space where every visitor is able to discover that in themselves.

Did you find it hard to get started? Where did you get all of your supplies? Surprisingly, I did not find it at all hard to get started. This was a need, an energy, that had to escape. I had no choice but to put it out there in the world and let it grow. It just felt right. Fortunately, the stars all aligned, and it was very well received by the community. From day one, I have had folks donating items at my doorstep. I think it gives everyone a sense of hope and purpose to have a place to send their piles of once-loved clutter.

Where do you find inspiration for all of the different projects? Inspiration is everywhere. We look at the materials and decide what they remind us of in nature or what functional properties they possess. If you take away what you have been taught about what an object is supposed to be, then you are left with simple factors like shape, color, size, weight, etc. Everything has been done before, as every creative knows, so we try to put a new spin on each project by replacing the medium with the most unlikely material. And, let’s be honest… Pinterest is a nice resource.

What is one piece of advice to other designers and creative types who are looking to start their own business? You know what feeds your soul. Take that energy and figure out a way to share it with others. Don’t focus too much on the payback…that will all come in time. All things born out of good purpose and love have a way of working out.

Since you work as a team, what do you think are the benefits of having a partner rather than going at it alone? We all share the same belief in the importance of what we are offering, and we all have bounds of energy and spirit to back it up. Ideas get bounced around a lot at the studio. We have fun seeing just how far we can take a project. We are all different ages and in different stages of our lives; therefore, we each bring a little something different to the table.

Why is recycling and repurposing so important to creation? Being resourceful is a valuable lesson in itself, but when you can add creativity to that it opens up so much space for true creativity. It’s easy to follow a blog or shop a craft store for project inspiration, but when you can teach someone to look at a shoebox full of old gift cards and bottle caps and see the opportunity for a doll house, you have truly opened their mind.

This interview was conducted summer 2013.

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