What is Re-Toyed Trash?
Re-Toyed Trash is a project by Alicia Talikowska, encouraging people to Re-Use existing materials and use found objects to create something really unique.

Plush workshop

Alicia holds workshops to help anyone make art from junk. Sometimes the workshops feature a visiting artist showing in their own style the possibilities of re-using materials.

‘In the workshops we supply lots of materials that we find on our travels and discarded objects, such as broken toys, old electrical equipment and scrap fabrics which can be used to make a new toy creature. We also have adhesives to stick parts together, sewing needles for stitching plush toys, and some handy tools to help the process. However, we do welcome people to bring some of their own junk to work on. If you can stick it together, give it a go!’

Workshops are usually held on each month on Saturdays at different locations. For up-to-date news, check back to the blog or join our mailing list to hear when the next workshop will be. Send an email to: retoyedtrash(AT)gmail(DOT)com Everyone is welcome to our workshops, so don’t be shy, come and make something.

Plush workshop

How did it all begin?
The idea began in 2006 as Art & Design student Alicia Talikowska was inspired by the following:

  • I pity the dolls exhibition of hand-made Mr T dolls in New York. This was the first time the largest collection of Mr T dolls in the world had been seen by a public, all together
  • Dan Walls recycled toy sculptures, using found objects mainly from skips around Leeds to create art
  • Stitchikers Nicolar Bell’s travelling plush characters

Alicia was aware that there was a real lack of exposure for this type of art form that should have the opportunity to be seen in it’s intended physical format. She knew of artists whose sculptural works and art toys were only viewable as images on websites. She decided to put on a unique exhibition of art toys in Leeds named ‘Re-Toyed Trash’ and start a series of workshops. The workshops were intended to allow anyone to be creative and join in, enabling participation and individual interpretation.


The other important element: The Re-Use of materials. If new objects can be created from found/old/junk materials then no limited resourses have to be used up in the process.

Being aware:

  • Environment…many toys are mass-produced and made from plastic, and the negative effects of having a ‘disposable society’ attitude has on the environment. The idea to Re-Use old materials to make new unique toys means that no new materials are needed to be produced to make these creations.
  • Unique…using found materials means that each creations will be unique.

Carribean womble merman

How does the theme of the workshop get chosen?
Sometimes a visiting artist will declare a new theme for their workshop, such as plush, so they use their skills and knowledge of what they know best. Otherwise we embrace themes that have been suggested to us like monsters and robots. We are very open to suggestions, so if you have an idea of a workshop that you would like us to do then either email us retoyedtrash(AT)gmail(DOT)com or leave a comment on the blog.

The last workshops were:

04/08/07 – 05/08/07 -> Creature Making in the Folksy Tent @ Innocent Village Fete, Regents Park, London

20/07/07 -> Sewing workshop in the Kids Tent @ Moor Music Festival, Ilkley

25/06/07 – 27/06/07 -> Degree show workshops for On the Fence exhibition @ Leeds College of Art & Design

19/05/07 & 22/05/07 -> 2 Plush character workshops for Situation Leeds @ ‘Corner in the Market’ in the Merrion Superstore, Leeds with Nicolar Bell

14/04/07 -> Re-Toyed Trash for Ladyfest Leeds @ The Art Market in the Merrion Superstore, Leeds with Dan Walls

02/12/06 -> Robot Making @ The Art Market in the Merrion Superstore, Leeds with Dan Walls

18/11/06 -> Monster Making @ Fab Cafe, Leeds with Dan Walls

Robot Making workshop…

Robot Making montage

Ladyfest Leeds workshop…


Plush character workshop….



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: