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Sculptures With Something to Say

This art project aims to get people to use less plastic.
A large multicolored sculpture of a fish made from plastic

Rusty Clark (CC BY 2.0)

Angela Haseltine Pozzi and her team of artists make big, brightly colored sculptures of animals that live in and around the sea. But while some sculptors shape their creations from metal, marble, or clay, Pozzi’s team uses trash. 

The sculptures are made from plastic that has washed up on beaches. This is plastic that was thrown away and got carried to the ocean by rivers or storm drains. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how much plastic is in Earth’s oceans, but they estimate that about 14 million tons of it enter the oceans every year. Some of this plastic breaks down into tiny pieces, where it harms marine animals that try to eat it.

Pozzi wants to highlight the plastic problem. She got the idea to build plastic sculptures and, in 2010, started a group called Washed Ashore to make it happen. Volunteers for Washed Ashore go to beaches and collect plastic. Then, working with Pozzi, they build their creations.

Washed Ashore has built a huge number of sculptures with everything from buttons to bottles to bleach containers. It’s their way of telling people just how much plastic is used and carelessly thrown away. 

Pozzi hopes people will realize that it’s time to use less plastic.

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Fun Fact

Many artists use recycled materials in their art. Famed Spanish artist Pablo Picasso used cuttings from newspapers in some of his creations more than 100 years ago!

A framed geometric artwork with a clipping from a newspaper in the center

© Pako Mera/Alamy

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso created this collage. He used part of a newspaper article from 1912.

The SS Moo

Animation of a boat made from a milk carton, two pencils, and scraps of paper for sails

Milk carton: © Amonrat Rungreangfangsai/; animation by Encyclopædia Britannica

You can make recycled art too! Here’s how to make a sailboat from a milk carton.

You will need:

  • A paper milk or juice carton
  • A thick piece of scrap paper (try to reuse some paper)
  • Two unsharpened pencils
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • A hole puncher


  1. Clean the carton and make sure it’s dry.
  2. Cut out most of one side of the carton so it looks like a boat. Leave a little bit of a rim around the opening. 
  3. If you want to, you can decorate your boat with paint.
  4. Turn the carton so the opening is on top. At each end of the opening, punch a hole in the rim. This is where you attach the sails.
  5. Push one pencil through each of the holes.
  6. Get your scrap paper. Cut out two triangles or rectangles. They should each be about as big as a small box of crayons or markers. But they should be different sizes. These will be your sails. 
  7. If you want to, decorate your sails with crayon or marker.
  8. Punch two holes in each sail, one near the top and one near the bottom.
  9. Go back to your boat. Put one sail on each pencil. The pencil will go through the holes in the sail. Use tape to hold the sails in place.

Art Everywhere

Did you know that there are a lot of different kinds of art? You can be an artist too!

A sculpture of a rearing horse made from scrap metal

© Sue Smith/

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: a collection of animals kept especially to be shown to the public

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