Artist crochets video tapes into sculptures to give plastic waste new life, play with media

Artist crochets video tapes into sculptures to give plastic waste new life, play with media

To most of us, video cassettes are relics of the past — destined for the dumpster. 

But not for Evelyn Roth.

The 82-year-old has turned black spools of disused cassette tape into pieces of art to raise awareness about recycling. 

"At the moment all your VHS tape is called e-waste ... it goes into the garbage dump," says Roth. 

"I think it's a good time to really make a change and find a use for VHS tape."

To make her art, Roth splits open a VHS cassette with a hammer, pulls the tape off the reels and uses her finger as a crochet hook to create long chains of looped tape that can be turned into innovative sculptures.

Watch Roth crochet video tape into art

"You can make water tank cozies, a fence around your yard or have your vegetables creep around it," says Roth.

It can also turn into wearables such as hats.

Playing with the media

Roth's love affair with VHS tape — short for video home system — started in the early 1970s when it came on the scene to record movies and TV shows for later viewing. It was also the media for archiving TV shows.

"Wasn't it fun to go to the TV station, get [an old VHS cassette] and crochet a hat — and it might still have Hockey Night in Canada, Edge of Night or whatever television was producing," says Roth.

"It's just like playing with media." 

Caught by television

Roth's art pieces, while drawing attention to the environment and the need to recycle, are also social commentary.


One of her crocheted pieces is a long tube with a black box at the end which Roth says is a representation of being hooked to the television set.

"We're caught by television. What we do, even who you elect is [influenced by] television."

She's also an advocate for a life that's less reliant on plastic. 

And now she's concerned by the recent garbage dispute between the Philippines and Canada that has drawn attention to the global problem of plastic waste. 

"Are we going to have plastic sent to the Philippines and China to be made into goods that we buy? Or are we going to make a change?"