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Mother Nature Network - Nov 11th, 2009

Why throw out that empty wine bottle - when you could wear it down a fashion runway? For artist Kathleen Plate, dumpster diving for old glass bottles is a frequent first step towards creating her upcycled chandeliers, glass wall installations, pillows - and even high-fashion dresses. 

Finding Kathleen's perhaps best known as the founder and designer of Smart Glass Jewelry - also made using upcycled bottles - since her work's been worn by celebrities like Amy Smart and Christina Applegate. Now, Kathleen's expanding her ouevre to include home accessories. Last night saw the launch of Kathleen's new recycled glass home collection at Environment Furniture in Los Angeles. 

Guests milled about admiring the intricate chandeliers, glass "curtains," and framed glass wall art. Of course, because all the works are made incorporating recycled glass, the pillows and dresses raised some questions about practicality. After all, glass decorative pillows don't exactly invite leaning, sitting, or lying on. And glass dresses don't seem made for - sitting. 

Are the dresses fashionable clothes, or decorative art? "I think in some ways the highest of fashion is art, really, because it's not what you'd wear every day," Kathleen said last night. "I'd say they're more art - conceptual art." That said, every dress on show at the event has made its way down a fashion runway - though Kathleen hasn't worn any of them herself. "They're sized for models, not for me," she said, laughing.

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