Wyoming Arts Council

Functional meets fanciful at "Upcycling 101" in Casper

Wyomingarts had a chance to meet with Casper artist and performer Betsy Bower on Sunday. Betsy’s mom, writer Cindy Bower, arranged the meeting as she was wrapping up the annual Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference at Ramada Riverside.

Everyone in Casper was out and about this weekend, no doubt because it was the first good weather of the spring. Betsy had participated Saturday in “Upcycling 101” at the WinterMethodistChurch and the adjacent James Reeb Memorial Community Playground in north Casper. When she wasn’t demonstrating how to upcycle old wine bottles into drinking glasses using a portable forge, she was peddling her blendercycle. Here’s a description of the contraption from an article by Tom Morton in Sunday’s Casper Star-Tribune:

Bower had on display a creation that wasn’t particularly useful, definitely not beautiful, but certainly fun. 

She enhanced a child’s bicycle by mounting a blender on a wooden platform on the rear bumper and running a vertical axle from the blender to the top of the rear tire, which would drive the axle to power the blender. Sort of margaritas on the go.


Forget the margaritas. Betsy spent at least part of the day pedaling smoothies into an eco-friendly froth. Anne MacKinnon’s Little Hands organization had several work stations for children and adults at the event. The organization, funded by the Wyoming Arts Council, the Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board and AmeriCorps, operates free programs for children 6 and under who, with their parents, learn art. 

She, a few children and a couple of others involved with Little Hands played and created art by smearing thinset mortar — used in laying tile — on a sheet of plastic covering a worn metal patio table.


They chose stones, discarded jewelry, lids and other items from a box, then placed them at random in the thinset to create a tabletop.

You can call it upcycling or recycling or reusing. Or just creativity.

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