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Christmas Gift Guide

Scavenging for supplies

Reams of rubbish

In the studio

New way of creating

Tons and tons of trash

E-waste landscape

Electronics exposed

That used to be garbage?

Great garbage find

Carrie Hott (left) and Cybele Lyle, artists in residence at waste disposal company Recology San Francisco, scavenge the public dump for art supplies.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Participants in Recology San Francisco's artist-in-residence program have 24-hour access to a junk pile that typically weighs in at about 200 tons per day.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Resident artist Nathan Byrne, an art student at San Francisco State University, stands in his Recology studio, a shipping container stuffed with scavenged supplies like a camper top, a cathode-ray TV, broken mirrors, theater chairs from the '40s, a basketball, stacks of books, spools of thread and a taxidermied moth.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Scavenging for supplies can be a complete reversal of the artists' process. They don't know in advance what their materials will be. Instead, the serendipity of what they discover in a junk pile informs their art.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Spending so much time at the dump -- Recology prefers to call it the Public Disposal and Recycling Area -- has left its mark on the artists. "It's made me not want to buy things so much," says Cybele Lyle, shown here with a bolt of fabric she recovered from the junk pile.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Carrie Hott has created an e-waste soundscape from piles of consumer electronics she found at the dump.

"Reuse and recycling have always been important to me," she says. "But being at Recology and seeing how many reusable items are thrown away every day has shifted my view, and has definitely strengthened my belief in reuse."

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

For her installation "Summer Night Forever," Carrie Hott reveals the inner workings of machines used to play recorded sound. The gadgets remain functional and can play audio through scavenged speakers.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Cybele Lyle's room-size installation, titled "Are You Me or Are You a Stranger," is dominated by found fabrics and household items such as flooring, blinds and a bookshelf.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Nathan Byrne is constructing a series of 12 sculptures that reference science and nature. He calls these neon lights pulled from the garbage pile "the find of a lifetime."

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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