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Joyce Curvin has crafted and sold decorative animals made from old bottles, cans and palm pods for years.

Joyce Curvin's kitchen trash is similar to that in most kitchens, but to her, the baled detritus holds the seeds of creativity.

"This is just going to get trashed," she said of some recent remains of the day heaped in bags. "I might as well make something out of it."

The junk carried to the makeshift workshop in her garage is the mundane stuff of home life: old soda and powdered creamer bottles, peanut butter jars, empty plastic spray bottles, cat food cans and maple syrup containers.

Curvin has plans for all of it.

The syrup bottle turned sideways, she said, is the perfect head for a dog.

A cat food tin may end up as an ornamental cat's head.

"I prefer to use all recycled material," Curvin said, "and I'm always inspired by the material I have at hand."

The native of St. Petersburg is the wife of the Rev. Chris Curvin, pastor of the Northwood Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, the mother of the couple's two sons, and a longtime member of the guild for All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. She also has turned a childhood lesson - making use of what you have at hand - into an artistic career, focusing on whimsical animals.

Curvin, 50, said her parents encouraged her to be creative before buying anything.

"When I wanted a new skateboard, my father told me to get down my old skates and nail some plywood on top," she said.

One recent morning, Curvin sat in the garage surrounded by the tools of her trade: a couple of saws, racks of acrylic paint tubes, clamps and Styrofoam meat trays used for palettes. She began crafting a dog from peanut butter jars. Another dog stood nearby, sporting a coat of ticket stubs.

Stacks of dried out palm pods lay on the floor awaiting transformation into colorful fish.

"Congregants love that my wife is an artist," Chris Curvin said. "Many of them bring a stash of palm pods for her."

Joyce Curvin said she started by doing palm pod fish when her children were young "and I've progressed from there."

Curvindonates and sells her creations. She has donated items to her sons' schools in Palm Harbor and to All Children's Hospital fundraising events, most recently for the All Children's Therapy Center of Eastlake in Oldsmar.

She is participating in more shows now that the couple's sons are 13 and 11. In July, Curvin exhibited her creations at the Cool Art Show in the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. She also has pieces in the gift shop of Temple Beth El in St. Petersburg.

Curvin encourages others to try their hand at using, rather than wasting, household items.

"There's a lot you can do," she said, "before you throw something out."

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To learn more

Want to learn more about artist Joyce Curvin's creations? Call (727) 943-2464.