Oak Cliff Recycle Artist Sandra Artalejo

Oak Cliff Recycle Artist Sandra Artalejo     

By Rita Cook      
Oak Cliff resident Sandra Artalejo is one green thinking artist who never lets anything go to waste.  Working a day job teaching Fashion Illustration at Collin County Community College while also freelance as a clothing and accessories designer on a consultant basis, Artalejo spends her spare time making backpacks, book totes, grocery bags, lunch bags and handbags from recycled items.

“I have developed handbags, backpacks and totes from recycled used billboards from a Dallas- based company,” she explains.  “I also collect wine boxes that are beautifully printed and thrown away.  I collect them from a few grocery stores and turn them into sketch books and journals.”   And, like with the ideas that she is currently formulating, she says she comes up with her green projects by beginning to save items and then brainstorming on how she can recycle and make the item into something else.


“When I first came up with the dog food bags, I saw that they were made from the same material that bags were made of that were being sold as eco-bags at several stores,” she explains.  “Usually I will envision a product being made from something recycled.  I can see what it can become.”
In the past Artalejo has recycled so many items she says she can’t even remember everything, “So many began with all the plastic bags collected from the grocery stores,” she says listing the items she has created like Christmas wreaths and stuffing for pet bedding from plastic grocery bags or Christmas wrapping and wall sculptures from newspapers, which she adds “is also great for making patterns or for clothing and whatever else I'm working on.”  From large liter size water bottles Artalejo is currently developing a way to make lighting designs and she uses egg cartons for Halloween decorations.

Artalejo says her decision to live a more eco-friendly existence comes from the influence her grandparents had on her, they reused and redesigned many things and she says so did her parents. She is also teaching her 16-year-old daughter to do the same.  “She [my daughter] is the future of the green generation,” Artalejo says.  “She tried to start a recycle club in school, but it was lost in administration and not supported by the school system, which was really sad.”

Nevertheless, she says both she and her daughter will continue to live green “we need to teach our future generations to value earth, our natural resources and value things that matter, not things that will be trash tomorrow,” she says.  “We should be teaching classes in recycling in our schools and colleges and universities, extensively stressing how to redesign and reuse.”  “This is the only earth we have and if we continue on the path of trash that we're on our throwaway society will be gone” she concludes.

Interested in Artalejo’s recycle items?  Visit her website at www.solastudios.net.


Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has
written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light,
Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and
many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.  With five books published, her latest release
is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press.  You can contact her at [email protected]