Art keeps lids from landfill

The mural was inspired by student designs, and the work of artist Michelle Stitzlein.

A collection of 2607 bottle caps has been turned into a mural by Ōrewa College’s Learning Support Centre.

The mural, which has a permanent place in a courtyard at the college, was revealed at a presentation ceremony on December 4.

Ten students from the centre, which supports students with special needs, created the piece with help from Learning Support Centre teaching assistant Nonavee Dale.

The background was painted by Nonavee based on students’ designs, then the caps were individually attached, using a drill, by the students.

Lucy Krinkel, who created the river on the piece, says putting the caps onto the mural was the most fun part.

At the presentation, credit was given to student Tom Joe for drilling in the most caps – several hundred.

While the school spent two terms collecting bottle tops for the project, most of the caps were provided by Nonavee, who has been collecting them for seven years.

“This project finally gave me some use for them,” Nonavee says. “I haven’t been throwing them out because while bottles can be recycled, the caps cannot.”

Nonavee says the extra abilities of the Learning Centre students makes them great artists.

“As an example, some of our autistic students are fantastic with colour and can easily pick out the different tones, which has created a lovely gradient of colour on the finished artwork.”

The piece is called Papatūānuku, meaning Mother Nature and the land. It shows that everything in nature is recycled, by showing the earth, sea, and sky.

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