One person's trash is treasure at LIGHTSCAPES


Monday, 4/4/2016 2:41pm

Take a close look at the flowers in the Intergalactic Garden at LIGHTSCAPES. Can you spot a dryer vent tube? How about plastic water bottles or a child’s beach bucket? Those thousands of tulips on the Manor House front lawn? They’re fashioned from the tops of milk jugs, while the jug bottoms form the wall inside the Colorwheel Castle.

In fact, recycled, repurposed, and recovered materials are the building blocks for nearly all of LIGHTSCAPES’ otherworldly sculptures. With artistic creativity and state-of-the-art lighting, real-world objects are transformed into whimsical, magical pieces.

Inspiration for LIGHTSCAPES’ recycling theme comes from Van Cortlandt Manor’s colonial roots. People who lived and worked at the Manor in the years after the American Revolution were expert recyclers. Nothing was thrown away if it could be put to use, even in a small way. In the years before refrigeration, people ate food as it came, with scraps tossed to the animals. They patched and mended clothing, and when it was no longer wearable, they gave it a new purpose, perhaps as a rag or as a quilt square.

So, while you’re strolling the Manor grounds admiring LIGHTSCAPES’ whimsical flora and fauna, be sure to stop and admire the construction. You may be surprised at what you find!

Here are a few things to look for:

Bubble Tunnel

  • Take-out salad bowls

Intergalactic flora

  • Dryer vent tubes
  • Children's beach buckets
  • Dixie cups
  • Fan blades
  • Globe lights
  • Plastic water bottles

Bluebird Nest

  • Windfall wood from nearby trees

Caterpillar (right)

  • Salad bowl eyes
  • Garden gazebo

Pupae (inside the caterpillar)

  • Wool and burlap scraps

Frog Prince (right)

  • Beach balls
  • Children's play balls

River of LIght

  • Two-liter drink bottle bases
  • Bowling pins
  • Salad bowls
  • Milk bottles
  • Plastic cutlery

Colorwheel Castle (below right)

  • Milk bottle bases
  • Clear plastic shoe boxes


  • Reed placemats


  • Plastic bowling pins
  • Milk bottles


  • Milk jugs


  • Salad bowls

Manor House flowers

  • Fan light fixtures


  • Milk jugs


  • Bleach bottles


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