Doors to Recycling Art

Inspiration and recycling….from 2011 visit to Houston, Texas.. for Norm’s Thursday Door Challenge

The Beer Can House, a folk art icon and an ‘Ode to Recycling’  in Rice Military, Houston, Texas, boasts of an unique decor…beer cans, bottles, caps and other beer paraphernalia. 

What do you do if you continuously guzzle beer while constructing your house. Throw the empty cans or hoard them or re-cycle them. John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad decided on last two alternatives as by the time the renovation of patio was complete he had plenty empty cans in his attic and garage and his mothers attic. An idea was born and for 17 years (started in 1968) he toiled to transform a concrete structure into the ‘Beer Can House’. The cans were his personal consumption and neighbours’ contributions.

The trigger was that he ‘got sick of mowing the grass’ and from inlaying marbles, rocks, and metal pieces into concrete and redwood to form unique landscaping features he flattened beer cans for both practical and decorative purpose.

initially John strung some cans together, like popcorn, as garlands on trees. Then it was arch of Budweiser cans over the driveway. This did not last long. After a few false steps he used the tops, bottoms, the tabs for the curtains and the flattened cans as aluminum siding. Garlands made of cut beer cans hanging from the roof edges not only made the ‘house sing in the wind’, but helped lower the energy bills. According to Ripley’s Believe It or Not over 50,000 cans adorn this ‘monument to recycling’. 

The collection turned into an ingenious work of art ‘something to be remembered by….’

Present: The Beer Can House is owned and operated by The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. This is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to preserve and present works of extraordinary imagination and provide people the opportunity to express personal artistic vision.

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