Recycled Kitchen Utensils become Art

Sayaka Kajita Gans is a Japanese artist who recycles discarded kitchen utensils, toys and metal items by transforming them into emotive sculptures.

Sayaka Kajita Gans, Recycling Artist

Gans says that her work process reminds her of growing up in several different countries. Moving from one home to another throughout her childhood gave Gans a sense of disconnectedness, which is conveyed through her art. Each item that Gans chooses to use in her artworks are carefully selected, and must meet the requirement of being previously owned, used and discarded. Gans gives these pieces a new life by combining them to create an animal form that seems almost alive.

Gans uses flowing lines to create a sense of life and movement in her sculptures. Each creature seems to be frozen in time, like a single frame out of an animation. Each part of the animal is made up of a series of curves and arcs that further add to the sense of movement that the sculpture conveys. Art made with reclaimed objects is gaining popularity around the world, but it is a rarity to see such skill applied to recycled art.

When sketching, an artist will often create motion lines behind the subject to convey speed and movement. Gans has incorporated this technique into her sculptures, as seen above in the sculpture of a running cheetah, Fogo. These motion lines add to the sensation of movement in Gans’s work.

In Emergence, Gans has created two horses that appear to be emerging from a wall. The incompleteness of the horse’s bodies portray Gans’s sense of disconnectedness. It creates a transitory feeling of life existing only in a moment, fading into the past within seconds, never to be reclaimed. In converse, it can also form the idea that life emerges from the past, yet is always tied to its beginnings.
 In Emergence, one can easily see the shapes of some of the found objects that Gans has used. The ears on the black horse are spades, and the ears on the white horse are large spoons.

This piece uses several individual sculptures to create the finished product, Plunge. The penguins depicted appear to be plunging into water, even though they are hung in air. The piece gives the viewer the fun sensation that they are standing beneath the surface of the water watching the penguins dive. Gans has given the impression of water movement behind the penguins by twisting wire into swirls. 

Below are more examples of Gans’s sculptures. You can visit her website at