April seems to be one of the busiest months for Olympia Dumpster Divers. We, of course, believe that every day is Earth Day, but it is still nice to have special events that celebrate reducing, reusing, recycling, et al. The Olympia Timberland Regional Library, in conjunction with Olympia Spring Arts Walk, is joining in on the celebration: art from recycled materials, created by students in workshops with Nora Walsh and Ruby Re-Usable, will be on display this weekend at the downtown Olympia library. Nora worked with younger students to sew sock kitties, and Ruby showed students in grades 4 – 12 how to make fantastical flora and fauna figurines out of plastic bottles and old socks and other junk. More pics HERE and HERE.
… the book is actually not all about dumpsters- its a series of stories about my first show, at Rosco Louie, and sort of my art in general in about 1978. So really only those first two pages are specifically about dumpsters, although dumpster materials are mentioned from time to time. Ries Niemi
Ries Niemi’s booklet, I Might Have Been There, is available HERE
We also are intrigued by his Giant Blue Dress:
Giant Blue Dress is 12 feet tall, made from recycled blue tarp woven over a steel armature, it fills the gallery reaching from wall to wall, and up to the ceiling. It hovers above the floor, floating in space. Its a structure, a wearable yurt. Its a goddess monument. Its a reflection on the influence that the book The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass, had on me as a teenager. I built it full scale, then cut it into pieces small enough to fit through the standard 3 foot wide door of the gallery, and sewed it back together inside. Ries Niemi
More Ries Niemi HERE
One of the recycled materials that we don’t post about very often is food/food scraps. According to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom, Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. Composting is one way to “recycle” food waste, but what about reusing scraps like grapefruit and cantaloupe peels:
Northwest Designer Craftsman Jan Hopkins‘ sculptural tea pot, Oh Eleanor, made from grapefruit peel, cantaloupe peel, ginkgo leaves, ostrich shell beads, cedar bark, and waxed linen, was voted the Bellevue Arts Museum Biennial 2012 Samuel and Patricia Smith People’s Choice Award winner.
Perhaps one of the most dynamic artists working today, Jan Hopkins is a master at creating sculptural baskets from unusual natural materials. She uses citrus peel, lotus pods, black bamboo, and silver dollar seed pods while simultaneously incorporating traditional basket materials like agave leaves and cedar bark. Each piece is a marriage of deep sensitivity and reverence to materials with heavy emphasis on innovation. Jan began studying basketry with traditional makers, learning the art of meticulous construction and the basics of how to gather and prepare materials. Many of her works contain small pieces that are puzzled together creating elements of amazement and surprise.
“I try to create baskets that preserve the beauty of the materials and create a renewal or continuance to the cycle of life.” via Jane Sauer Gallery
Just discovered Khalil Chishtee‘s compelling plastic bag sculptures:
Khalil Chishtee is a Pakistani artist that uses trash bags to form and mold life. The sculpture’s poses of emotions release and brings out a connecting value that together allows our souls to whisper. He’s currently residing in California and received his education through Sacramento State. “Artworks needn’t always portray beauty.” -Khalil Chishtee. via Empty Kingdom
Aloha! While on vacation on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Ruby Re-Usable saw some art made from ‘opala (Hawaiian for trash):
We were over a month late for the 24 Annual Trash Art and Fashion Show in Hilo and missed meeting Ira Ono (the coordinator and founder of the Trash Art Show), but we did get to have macadamia nut pancakes (with passion and guava syrup) at Ken’s House of Pancakes with Rayona Visqueen (Hilo’s head trashionista)
Ruby Re-Usable has reused Wonder Bread bags in her mixed recycled media dolls and sculptures since 2000, when her then ten year old son, who was raised on whole wheat and tofu, demanded red meat and white bread.
While her son no longer eats Wonder Bread, Ruby continued to create art with the bags when she could. Her Wonder Bread bag art has won awards and has been included in museum and gallery exhibits around the world (and is currently at Matter Gallery)
Alas, now Wonder Bread and its colorful bags will no longer be available. What will she do now, you wonder? Well, Ruby Re-Usable will continue to Make Art, Not Waste, of course!
View all of Ruby’s repurposed Wonder Bread bag artwork HERE
Read more about The Life and Death of Wonder Bread
We here at Olympia Dumpster Divers have always loved Halloween for the creativity that it brings out in everyone:
A steampunk raven for Halloween or any other occasion (via design float blog)
Ruby has been learning how to play the ukulele, so this year she made some Day of the Dead figurines that are made from reused scraps and filled with Aloha spirit:
(see more of Ruby’s Dia de los Muertos figurines HERE)
Costume favorite: Batman made from aluminum beer cans
We giggled at the idea of decorating plastic bread tags (so silly, so fun, and really, what else can you do with them other than throw them away?), saw them on 12 Eco-Friendly Halloween Craft Ideas
more Tips for Recycling: Recycled Halloween Crafts
50+ Tips for a Green Halloween
Happy Trash-free Halloween!
We here at Olympia Dumpster Divers are excited to introduce another ODD: Amanda Weiss/Three Bad Seeds, who is now sharing Cast Off Art Lab with Ruby Re-Usable. Amanda upcycles old wool sweaters and wool blanket scraps into sweet little stuffies and pillows with hip motifs, such as pugs, foxes, hedgehogs, mountains, and our fave, sugar skulls.
We are having an Open Studio + Art Sale this Saturday, September 22, from noon until 6 pm, 416 Washington St SE #201 (above Matter Gallery), so if you are in the Olympia area, we hope that you will come on downtown and check us out (there will be cookies. and red vines. and beer).
Olympia Dumpster Divers Ruby Re-Usable, Second-hand Sid, and Pat Trashoni went on a junk-finding excursion to Bremerton, WA on Wednesday, looking for potential art supplies and stuff at various thrift stores (we particularly love the St Vinnie’s on Callow). We also went to admire the work of Bremerton artist David Ryan, who created an homage to the old Manette Bridge out of 7,000+ bottle caps hammered onto plywood. Ruby had read an article about David’s mural (New Bremerton Art: Bridge in Beer Bottle Caps) and was anxious to see it in person. First we stopped at Fritz Fries because Sid had a hankering for fish and chips; David Ryan also has his stenciled records hanging on the wall there:
The bottle cap Manette Bridge mural at Der Blokken Brewery is hung above the doorway to the kitchen, which is a shame, because it is a bit difficult to view since it is up so high.
But it really is a trashtastic piece, and we really enjoyed ourselves at the brewery, sampling seven different kinds of beer on tap, which was good but we then we didn’t get any bottle caps to take home! Read more about the making of the Manette Bridge bottle cap mural HERE