8 wacky and wonderful sculptures made from old CDs.

When Australian artist Sean Avery got his first MP3 player, he decided to give his CDs a brand new life.

Avery, a writer, illustrator, sculptor, and teacher by trade, decided to crack and crumble his albums to create beautiful, imaginative works of art instead, like this:


"Bear" (mixed media). All photos via Sean Avery, used with permission.

"I love the idea of deconstructing everyday objects and reforming them into organic shapes," Avery said via e-mail. "Materials are cheap and people have an instant connection with the work when they finally identify that it's made from objects they handle every day."

"Bullfinch" (mixed media). This little bird is only 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) tall.

Some of Avery's most iconic pieces of art are plant and animal sculptures made from up-cycled CDs on wire mesh frames.

Friends and fans often donate material to Avery, and he procured his first batch of old discs from his dad's office. But he's not afraid to source materials for his art the old fashioned way, too.

"I like to hunt around scrap yards for stranger pieces of obsolete tech," he said.

"Squidy" (mixed media). The legs are kinetic, and the entire sculpture is close to 40 inches long.

Though Avery is also an illustrator, he often lets passion and instinct guide his creations.

Before to starting a new piece, he searches for a variety of images of each animal, but he no longer draws a blueprint or elaborate sketch.

"I used to try and draw my animals to better understand the form, but it sort of sucked the fun out of the process because all I wanted to do was build."

"Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

And build he does.

Avery uses simple kitchen scissors to cut out the shapes he needs. Then he arranges them by size and color and glues each plastic shard one by one onto a wire frame.

A close-up of "Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

Each sculpture takes one to two weeks of work, along with lots of hot glue (and caffeine).

"I make lots of mistakes and I burn myself constantly," Avery said. "I find CD shards in my hair, shower, bed and cereal for weeks after I've finished a major project."

Avery constructs pieces large and small for clients and personal projects. His work ranges in size from just 6 inches to large creations a few feet wide. Each one is a vibrant, bold expression that begs to be touched.

"Pangolin" (mixed media) This piece was made out of Nespresso capsules for the company's Project Upcycle campaign.

"Peregrine Falcon 2" (mixed media). This commissioned piece required 40 CDs!

And Avery's not the only one turning trash into treasure, either.

In 2014, he represented Australia at the International From Waste to Art Exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan. At this annual event, artists and makers from all over the world exhibit their pieces made from domestic waste. It's a unique opportunity for conservation and fine art to come together and encourage an important conversation.

"Chameleon 2" (mixed media).

Avery's work is the perfect example of repurposing waste to make something beautiful.

The average person creates around 4.3 pounds of trash and waste each day. And nearly 55% of the waste generated in the U.S. ends up in landfills, which are quickly running out of space.

"Purple Flowers" (mixed media), a collaborative effort of Avery and Caris Bailey.

While not all of our personal refuse can be turned into works of art, much of it can be composted, recycled, or repurposed.

Sometimes it's just a matter of taking the time to sort and sift and perhaps to tap into our creative impulses.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Welcometoterranova article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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