Upcycle Solstice/Happy Trashnukkah/Merry Trashmas

We here at Olympia Dumpster Divers would like to wish you an Upcycle Solstice, Happy Trashnukkah, Merry Trashmas and a Recycled Festivus for the Rest of Us!  This year, the eight days of Chanukkah coincide with the winter solstice and Christmas, so we are presenting a combo of trashtastic hanukiahs and X-mas trees all in one post:

Menorah made in Haiti out of recycled 55-gallon oil drums

Christmas tree made from plastic bottles in Haifa via Green Prophet

Go green with a recycled Sprite bottle X-mas tree in Lithuania

Make a glass bottle menorah with instructions on ReadyMade

Hubcap X-mas tree from Unconsumption

Peznorah (and 7 more awesome menorahs) found on geek.com

post consumer recycled plastic Christmas tree via Tikkun, more pics at ElvertBarnes

clothespins hanukiah by Gad Charny, more sustainable menorahs on Green Prophet

There are even more images of creative reuse Christmas trees on Unconsumption, Crisp Green, and Mother Nature Network.  We tried to find an image of the sun made from recycled materials, but couldn’t find one, so Ruby vows to create a sun for the NEXT upcycle solstice celebration.  Happy, Trash-free Holidays from Olympia Dumpster Divers!

This is a hanukiah that Ruby Re-Usable made for the" Twelve Days of Christmas" windows display in downtown Olympia in 2002. These festive, zoftiig ladies are made out of blue and white Hanukkah detritus, with a white candle on each of their heads.


Cigar Box Ukuleles

Second-hand Sid and Ruby Re-Usable recently visited Will Eikleberry, a local Olympia luthier who also makes guitars and ukuleles out of cigar boxes.  Ruby has just started to learn how to play the ukulele and wanted a used instrument, so buying a ukulele that was made from recycled materials seemed like the perfect solution.  It sounds and feels great; now she needs to find (or make) a case from recycled materials to carry it in!

Learn how to make your own cigar box ukulele HERE

One Man’s Trash: A History of the Cigar Box Guitar                                               William J Jehle, detritomusicologist and cigar box guitar historian, has collected fragments of these forgotten instruments to create the first written history dedicated to these humble instruments

Check out the cigar box guitar documentary: Songs Inside the Box

Ruby and Sid have joined Oly-A UP, a ukulele players group in Olympia, WA


ODD Is Back!

We’re back!  Did you miss us?  Whatever.  It’s summer time here in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve been busy doing stuff.  And now we intend to post about the interesting, artsy, reusable stuff we’ve been doing, like all the trash fashion stuff we’ve gotten involved in lately:

M models the plastic bag frock she is working on for What You Got Fest

On Sunday and Monday, Ruby Re-Usable opened up her studio to the kids from the Olympia Film Society’s What You Got Fest.  About a dozen participants reused plastic bags, discarded baling twine, colorful paper packaging that was once used to wrap lamps, an old space blanket, leftovers from commercial film processing, and other stuff that Ruby had been hoarding saving for this kind of workshop.  The final fashion show will be held on Saturday, September 24 at the Capitol Theater (exact time TBA).  See more pics of these works-in-progress HERE

CleoTrasha wears Ruby Throws Caution to the Wind at the Oly Pride Parade

Last month, Ruby sent two of her repurposed plastic bag flower fascinators to New Orleans for an exhibit about artsy fascinators entitled Fascinate Me (including the one pictured above); more pics of Ruby’s fabulous fascinators HERE

Doggie Doo Blues by Ruby Re-Usable at the Trashion 2011 Exhibit photo by Urban Woodswalker

She also shipped 2 of her trash fashion outfits to the Indiana Welcome Center for the Trash to Treasure Trashion Show; more pics HERE (Doggie Doo Blues was also in the Seattle Trash Fashion Show back in April, read about it HERE)

More trash fashion and recycle art posts and other trashy fun summer stuff soon, until then, love,etc Ruby

Decorative Dumpster Day 2011


Boo-yah!  Today is finally Decorative Dumpster Day, when dumpster diving divas from around the world celebrate their love of trash and the receptacles that hold it.  Well, we actually abhor trash with a passion, so much so that we spend our time making art out of it, wearing it, reading about it, blogging about it, and otherwise thinking of ways to reduce the amount of trash we live with … but today we specifically examine the object that represents it all for us, in art and in song:


Bumbershoot hosted the Seattle Street Biennale (more pics HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), which included lots of decorated dumpsters

The Olympia Film Society/Capitol Theater Free Wall has the most beloved dumpsters anywhere; they are painted and repainted and photographed almost everyday!  check out the Flickr sets of dumpster pics by dreamsjung and Ruby Re-Usable


And they called it Dumpster love
Oh, I guess they’ll never know
How a young heart really feels
And why I love them so …
from Dumpster Love flickr group

More dumpster lovin’ flickr groups that we belong to: Dumpster Art, Skips and Dumpsters, Dumpsters, dumpsters and garbage cans


Regina Hackett posted pics of dumpsters as art:  Dumpsters- the ultimate urban symbol


Rachel Maxi’s first dumpster painting

We found these 3 very different music videos about dumpster diving on You Tube:

Da Dumpsta Dive

Dumpster Diving by Castledoor

Dumpster Diving Diva song


Here’s to everyone around the world participating in Decorative Dumpster Day ’11, including our dumpster lovin’ friends at Everyday Trash, The Visible Trash SocietyLa Joie de Vivre, Beth Evans-Ramos, and Art for Housewives

ps the last time we officially celebrated Decorative Dumpster Day on ODD was May 1, 2009

Happy Recycled Halloween in Olympia

Ruby Re-Usable and Second-hand Sid stopped by Eastside Big Tom for milkshakes, and stayed to admire the Halloween decorations that owner Mike Fritsch has created.  Mike proudly informed Ms Re-Usable that he is a recycler and a scrounger, gathering his goulish materials from thrift stores, donations from friends and fans, and also those free piles of wood scraps that appear everywhere (and now we know where they disappear to).  Big Mike/Big Tom, Olympia Dumpster Divers salutes you for your creative reuse, and for keeping the scary good fun in Halloween.  We will be there in our repurposed white plastic bag ball gown for your Halloween House extravaganza, so save us some candy!  Read more about Eastside Big Tom in the Olympian HERE and see some more pics HERE and HERE

Shedding some light on art and recycling


Burnt Out by Ruby Re-Usable

Several Olympia Dumpster Divers will be in a group show at Childhood’s End Gallery here in Olympia, WA.  15 Ways with Light runs August 20 – September 15, with a First Friday reception on September 3, 5 pm – 8 pm.  Participating artists: Tom Anderson, Robert August, Pino Cherchi, curator Pam Corwin, Joline El-Hai, Bil Fleming, Jennifer Kuhns, Ruby Re-Usable, Nikki McClure, Randi Parkhurst, Nancy Sigafoos, Steven Suski, Pat Tassoni, John & Ainsley Walden


Happy 4th BD to ODD!

Olympia Dumpster Divers is officially four today.  Here are some highlights from the past 4 Julys:


This blog was started on July 13, 2006 as a way to document my project, Ephemeral Folks, which was happening around Olympia that summer as part of the City of Olympia’s HERE TODAY temporary art installations.


In July of 2007, I participated in the artists in action for Art on the Ave in Tacoma, where festival participants were invited to engage with my art by taking one of four figures for a stroll around the fair (see pics/more info HERE)


If you have not been to visit Rich Art’s Art Yard in Centralia, WA, you should.  Why?  Read my July 2008 post about it HERE

Not only did I visit Rich Art again in July 2009, but I also met Jane of Dick and Jane’s Spot in Ellensburg, WA, too.  (see all of my Rich Art pics HERE)

IF you want to send Happy Blog Day wishes, mail them to Ruby Re-Usable at Cast Off Art Lab, 416 Washington St SE suite 201, Olympia, WA 98501


How Green Is Your Art?

How green is your art?  Tacoma News Tribune art critic Rosemary Ponnekanti poses that question in her write-up about the recycled, reclaimed and sustainable art at Matter Gallery in Olympia, WA.  Read It’s a Matter of Art – And the Planet


 plastic bag babies by Ruby Re-Usable at Matter (photo by Steve Bloom)

Mentioned in this article is the awesome recycle artist Ross Palmer Beecher who shows her work at Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle; check out this video interview of Ross HERE

Ruby Re-Usable believes that art from recycled materials should address the brain, not just the eye.  She loves playfulness and humor in art but cringes at the word whimsical.  Art should not be considered mere decoration, and the truly worthwhile recycled art rewards the viewer: the more one looks, the more one discovers inventive use of materials, compelling elements and principals of design, and different layers of symbolism and/or meaning.