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Turning Trash into Furniture (and Into Activism)

By Mariann Sullivan — January 10, 2014

b103a3e5303750c81bba4ee7f3d287b9If you know anything about me and Jasmin, you know that we love to find things that others have thrown away, and make them into something wonderful (well, we think they’re wonderful). Whether it’s just shopping at the thrift store, or making scarves out of old t-shirts, or creating wallets out of soy-milk containers — we’re suckers for saving things from the landfill.

So imagine our delight when we first saw the absolutely beautiful furniture created by Jim Tower — all out of found materials. We were in awe.

Natural Accent TableBut the really incredible thing about Jim’s work is that he has managed, against all expectations, to use it as a message of compassion for animals. His latest series, as seen on his online portfolio, was created using materials sourced from Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Discarded boards, panels and nails have been salvaged and repurposed into beautiful pieces, and those pieces have been showcased among equally beautiful photos of rescued animals. The pieces have even been described in a way that give them context relating them to the animals and their stories, such as the panel that reminded Jim “of the blue colors and patterns seen on several of the turkeys,” or the jar storage system that “symbolizes the confinement and limited space afforded to food production animals.”

Jim’s work is really a reminder that, no matter what we do, we can use it to spread the word about what is happening to animals and how we can each help end it. When I first looked at his site, I thought, “But what does this have to do with animal rights?” After I looked more closely, I remembered that everything has to do with animal rights. What Jim has done here is turn trash into beautiful, useful, furniture, and, in turn, turned that furniture into a metaphor for freedom. As he points out, “Much like the rescued animals living on farm sanctuaries, the materials for this project have been given a renewed life.”

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