Good Life

Artist Kevin Abbott

Kevin Abbott, owner of Jabebo Earrings, in Bellefonte, July 1, 2009.  Abbott makes and retails science and nature themed earrings made with reused cereal boxes.  CDT/Nabil K. Mark
Kevin Abbott, owner of Jabebo Earrings, in Bellefonte, July 1, 2009. Abbott makes and retails science and nature themed earrings made with reused cereal boxes. CDT/Nabil K. Mark

Cereal boxes, as any kid knows, make good breakfast reading. In Kevin Abbott’s hands, they also yield distinctive jewelry.

Abbott, 44, recycles the cardboard to create a menagerie of nature-themed earrings. Tony the Tiger leads to a cougar. Toucan Sam morphs into a Keel-billed toucan. Count Chocula becomes a chocolate molecule.

In all, the State College artist produces more than 100 bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, bug, marine animal, science and pet designs. “Basically, any cereal box will do,” he says. He sticks his miniature, computer-drafted images to two cardboard layers sandwiched together. On the backs remain the snippets of original packaging.Teaching in Kenya with the Peace Corps inspired him. Traditionally, sidewalk vendors there reuse trash in creative ways.

Abbott began 14 years ago with a moon and sun set for his wife, Mary. His designs today include human chromosomes and paramecia — to be expected from the former exhibitor and educator of the Hands On Science Center at the National Museum of American History.

Last year, he sold about 15,000 earrings at nature centers and museums nationwide. Locally, they can be found at Wiscoy Pet Food, Tait Farm Harvest Shop, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Victorian House Antiques, or on his Web site, www.jabebo.com.

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