Alchemist Karen Canino Turns Wasted Bottle Caps into Gold

Karen Canino is a retired art teacher who doesn’t see herself as retired, but rather on new a adventure in life. Karen is passionate about making “trash” into polished, highly crafted pieces of fine art. She specializes in beer bottle cap jewelry and recycled sweater hats.

Canino is so successful at making bottle caps into fine jewelry that some think they are machine made. Canino carefully trims and reshapes bottle caps then sets them into re-purposed metal disks. The finished product is a unique up-cycled piece of jewelry. She told the story of how once she had been asked if “those were Venetian beads.” She replied with a smirk, “No, they’re bottle caps.”

She travels often and collects bottle caps from where ever she goes. As we spoke with Canino, she showed us exotic examples of bottle caps from Israel, Vietnam, and Africa. Canino spoke much about her time spent in Kenya and her association with the Samburu Youth Education Fund, whose annual Harambee fundraiser is October 29 in Old Town, Fort Collins. She also mentioned that her artwork is greatly influenced by the Kenyan people, stating, “They are into recycling, and they are very inventive.”

Making recycled art is “fun and it’s a challenge to take something that’s a piece of trash and make it look like fine art.” This approach makes her collection of bottle cap beads, necklaces and earrings keepsakes from around the world, as well as trendy pieces of wearable art.

You can find Caninos jewelry every Saturday 10:00a-4:00a at The Screen Door Studios located at 310 Sherwood St, Fort Collins, CO, or at her Etsy shop,