From the Magazine

Repurposing Waste to Create Art

An Arizona artist makes everything from clothes to sculptures from recycled materials.

When someone calls artist Nancy Judd’s clothes trashy, she takes it as a compliment.

The designer and former Santa Fe recycling coordinator makes fashion sculptures from recycled materials—from caution tape to old Obama campaign signs—then displays the cool attire at such high-traffic locations as an international airport or a museum. “Fashion is a nonthreatening way to engage people about environmental issues,” says Judd, who started her business, Recycle Runway, 14 years ago.

When Toyota and Audubon awarded her a TogetherGreen Fellowship, Judd was ecstatic. For three months, she worked with 125 sixth graders to create a superhero costume from old insulation materials made of recycled paper and other items related to saving energy.

Her aim: To teach the teens conservation lessons to bring home. “They are getting this other element in art class,” she says. “It makes energy efficiency [come] alive in a different context.”

This story ran in the July-August issue as “Fashion Model.”