Arguably the best breath mint in the world, Altoids have been around since the 18th century. Curiously strong and delicious, they aren’t the most eco-friendly breath mint out there if consumers throw the tins away, but Carolyn Ribstein has repurposed them in a stylish way. Using polymer clay, she creates beautiful sculptures on the used tins. From Van Gogh’s Starry Night to her own designs, each piece is a work of art that takes a lot of patience and care. She first made jewelry out of the polymer clay; the tins started as unique home-made gifts for her friends and family members.
Ribstein had thought about selling her work, but wasn’t sure if enough people would be interested, but after an overwhelming show of love on Reddit where her son posted her work, she is planning on starting an Etsy page. We will add the link as soon as it’s up. We caught up with Carolyn Ribstein for an interview (see below). You can ask her questions of your own through her son’s Reddit post.
VN: On Imgur your pics have already reached over 260,000 people. What was your reaction?
CR: I am completely shocked. I had no idea that people would be so interested in my art.
VN: Do you have formal training in art or is this just a hobby? Please explain. How long have you been making these altoid tins?
CR: I have not had any formal training in art. I have been engaged in different mediums throughout my life, including sculpting clay, drawing, photography, and painting. Polymer clay has always been my main interest, I have been working with it for around 30 years as a hobby. It was around seven years ago that I started making the tins.
VN: What was your inspiration for the Altoid art?
CR: I saw an article online about covering Altoid tins with clay, and I wanted to make it into an art form. I took the basics from the article and decided to use the Altoid tins as a canvas to create detailed images using polymer clay.
VN: Where are you located?
CR: I am located in South Dakota.
VN: Which piece was your favorite to make?
CR: The “Starry Night” recreation was by far my favorite piece to make. The painting has a high level of detail, which challenged me and gave me a great sense of accomplishment when it was finished. Being able to use clay allowed me to give the image a level of depth and texture that might not be possible with other mediums.
On behalf of Visual News, thank you Carolyn. We’re looking forward to seeing and sharing your Etsy shop.