Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – The Environment and Art – Cornwall Ontario – October 24, 2010

Cornwall ON – Repurposing your disposables into ‘one of a kind’ wearable art.

As we have had a couple of municipal public debates recently on the environment and the arts I thought it timely to present some information on one of our home grown talents who produces original art with recycled materials.  Here is a lady who uses materials which may otherwise end up in land fill; combines that with her artistic vision and sense of style and voila…a business is born.

Let me introduce you to Eastern Ontario Regional Artist Emily MacLeod.  Emily, who currently resides in the Maxville area, is a woman with considerable artistic talents.  She has a keen eye for colour, composition and style in the decorating arena and has won awards regionally for her original canvases in oils and graphite. In the last few years she ventured into the wearable art world using recycled material.

Emily’s first venture into this field came quite by accident.  She had a button which she found interesting and colourful. She wanted to incorporate it into something that she could wear or use.  With that goal in mind Emily produced her first piece of wearable art; a bracelet.

And so the journey of repurposing people’s discarded items into ‘one of kind’ wearable art began and grew into the business “Off the Cuff Vintage” through which MacLeod markets her wearable art. MacLeod repurposes and combines leather belts, remnants, discarded leather furniture, buttons from many a grandmother’s button jar, chain, recycled jewelry parts with new snaps and earring parts into unique pieces of functional art.
Her original bracelet project has grown into designing rings, necklaces and earrings.  MacLeod will take on commissions in this arena.  “I had a client who wanted to create a unique piece of wearable art for her nieces and nephews.  She provided me with the buttons for the pieces and I produced a unique piece for each intended family member”.  Isn’t that a great idea?  A great way to perhaps remember a loved one or treasured friend by incorporating a piece of material, leather or chain from an item that was meaningful for them to pass on to their loved ones.
Emily will stumble upon discarded pieces which lead her to creations and designs based on the find on hand.  A case in fact is the image above.  Emily found a metal broach and earrings which were the inspiration for the necklace shown.  Paired with recycled leather and repurposed chain, an original non symmetrical necklace was birthed.  She is also wearing one of her designed rings and bracelets in the image.
Lauras Flowers and Fine Gifts
MacLeod’s original pieces can be found locally at Laura’s Flowers & Fine Gifts in Cornwall, ON and at Adorit Boutique at 159 York Street in Ottawa which only features items made with recycled and reclaimed fabrics.  You may contact Emily through her website at

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