Recycle style is not just one element but a number of elements joined together. The result is a sculpted collage of image and architectural salvage. These elements consist of architectural salvage wood and metal decorative pieces from old homes and businesses. Items like doors, windows, columns, tin ceiling tiles as well as iron fireplace surrounds and attic vents. These and other found objects are recycled into picture frame collages to display vintage Dementi photos of Richmond.

The total presentation is history framed.

Richmond, VA, being a historic city has a wealth of raw materials that can be used to create recycle style. These materials are found at a number of local salvage yards in the area.


The idea came from a collaboration between Kristy Ford, the former co-owner of The Art of Richmond/Dementi Gallery and the Historic Richmond Foundation. Ford wanted a new way to display the Dementi photos and HRF needed a fund raising event. The Art of Richmond Design contest was created. Architectural salvage was donated from some of the city’s yards like Caravati’s, S.B. Cox and others. The images were donated by Dementi studio. About 15 local artists participated in the first event on Dec. 5th 2003. The artists selected a photo and then chose different salvage elements to enhance the art. The finished pieces were then judged and auctioned off. The contest continued in that form for over three years. The HRF still holds an annual local art auction benefit but they no longer use this original concept.

Mary Fender, founder of Frame Nation, was one of the original artist who answered the call for artists to the first competition in 2003. She totally fell in love with the concept and went on to win first place in the first two years of the contest. The 2003 entry was a 1937 image of the Loews Theater and 2005 was called “5 cent fare” and depicted the last Richmond street car trip.

The last year she participated she entered an illuminated collage of Broad Street at Night from the 1960s. She did not place that year but the experience did continue her enthusiasm for the new “style” she has come to call “Recycle Style” framing.

After opening Frame Nation in October 2007, Recycle style was definitely one of the offerings she wanted to offer Richmond, VA and display in her frame gallery. Since this concept is no longer available at the HRF fund raiser, art and history lovers can acquire these unique pieces at Frame Nation.

Frame Nation continues to use this concept to benefit the Richmond community by donation. A Recycle Style framed Dementi image has been donated to Maymont's 10Th and 11th annual Vintage Maymont Auction. This fund raiser does a fine job of creating awareness about the needs of the Maymont Foundation and raises monies to continue it's ongoing restoration and operation. The first piece, a recycle style framing of the Dementi studio image of Maymont's Italian Gardens, was donated October 26th 2007. The latest, an image of the Japanese gardens was donated in 2008.


There are some issues to consider when using these elements, but while keeping them in mind we can all enjoy their regained usefulness.

Some older building materials will have splinters and rough or sharp edges and some may have protruding nails or screws. Care should be taken to sand edges and wire brush places to reduce this. Also, remove any visible protruding nails and screws so as not to harm people, furnishings or walls. Even with that care there still may be sharp edges to avoid and handle carefully.

Another issue is that of old paint. Salvaged items from buildings before the 1970’s contain remnants of old paint. Old paint may or may not contain lead. Again, we sand and wire brush these areas to reduce flaking. At times we also apply additional latex paint to “fix” flaking paint areas. Please take proper precautions when handling items with lead paint.


To see example of Recycle Style framing visit [1].