Seattle RE Store recycled art show 2014

The Seattle RE Store‘s 13th Annual Recycled Art Show is opening this Saturday, April 12, 6 pm – 9 pm at Blowing Sands Gallery in Ballard (show runs through May 7).  Ruby Re-Usable was once again one of the jurors (along with our friend in recycled art, Cheri Kopp, and gallery owner David Smith).  The range of materials artists reuse to create their work is always interesting; here are a few of our favorites from this year:
"Gimli" by Jennifer Kuhns salvaged stained glass on reused cupboard door

“Gimli” by Jennifer Kuhns                                                                                                salvaged stained glass on reused cupboard door

"Dick's Deluxe" by Brian Brenno recycled tins

“Dick’s Deluxe” by Brian Brenno         recycled soda and beer cans

"Cheerios Chair" by Sari Israel woven cardboard cereal boxes

“Cheerios Chair” by Sari Israel
woven cardboard cereal boxes, cans, old chair

We look forward to seeing this show and the art work in person!


SUSTAINING: group art show

We are so honored to be part of this environmentally-themed group art show:


Abmeyer Wood Sustaining group show

opening on April 3 for downtown Seattle’s First Thursday Art Walk, 6 pm – 8 pm, at Abmeyer + Wood (right across the street from Seattle Art Museum).

Some of the artists in this exhibit are names you should be familiar with: Marita Dingus, Steve Jensen, and Ruby Re-Usable, along with Alfredo Arreguin, Matthew Dennison, Karen Hackenberg, Gaylen Hansen, Meg Holgate, Holly Lyman, Lynda Lowe, Ann Mallory, William Morris, Annie Marie Musselman, Catherine Eaton Skinner, Raven Skyriver, Rob Snyder, Phil Stoiber, Jason Walker, Melissa Weinman, and Suze Woolf.  We are looking forward to meeting these artists/making new friends/seeing new ways to “Make Art Not Waste” and otherwise promote eco-art issues.

Wonder Baby by Ruby Re-Usable

Wonder Baby by Ruby Re-Usable

The Facebook invitation is HERE.  Speaking of Facebook, have you “liked” Ruby Re-Usable yet?  Find me on Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE 

And if you are ever in Olympia (Washington, USA), stop by and say hey at Matter Gallery (my studio is upstairs)!

Dee-dee Redux: recycle art collages


Assassination Day Trays by Deborah Faye Lawrence

Assassination Day Trays by Deborah Faye Lawrence, 2004

“On the afternoon of April 4, 1968 my dad picked us up at Oceanside High School. He was listening to the news on the radio, and Dad was furious. ‘Well, they did it. They murdered him,’ he fumed, as Sandy and I squeezed into the back seat of the Volkswagen. ‘Martin Luther King is dead.’ The announcer on the radio was talking and my dad was talking back. ‘What do you expect?’ said my dad. ‘What the hell do you expect when one guy takes on the whole goddamned racist establishment?’ As Dad muttered and cursed and impatiently steered the car toward the day care center where my little brother was waiting, Sandy and I sat quietly in back. I had the sense to keep my mouth shut when he was mad, but Sandy didn’t know my dad. The voice on the radio was saying ‘Dr. Martin Luther King, killed by a gunman’s bullet at age 39…’ and my dad jerked the wheel hard to the left. ‘Ku Klux Klan FBI assassin, you mean,’ he growled.

Sandy chose this moment to say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter. That guy was just a nigger.’

My father jammed on the brakes and spun around. He suddenly took up all the space in the car, and his grimace was an inch from Sandy’s perfectly suntanned nose. ‘Listen, little girl,’ he snarled. ‘You are just an ignorant little piece of trash. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. That man was the closest thing to a hero we had in this county. Some day if you’re lucky, little girl, you might wake up out of your stupor and have the sense to—’
Dad gave up talking and turned back to his driving. I sneaked a glance at Sandy. I’d known her since Jr. High, but we had never talked about politics. I saw some tears on her face. I sat back against the seat and felt proud of my dad, and sad about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.”

- Deborah Faye Lawrence, text of an autobiographical story told on her Assassination Day Trays, 2004, Acrylic, collage and varnish on a tin baking pan and recycled tin TV tray, 29 x 17.5 inches

Ruby Re-Usable went to ArtsWest in Seattle this weekend to see Deborah Faye Lawrence: Dee-dee Redux, a retrospective of work by artist Deborah Lawrence.  We first encountered Deborah’s recycle art collages back in 2004, when we were both included in the Re-Store’s 3rd Annual Recycled Art Invitational (juried by Marita Dingus) at Ballard Works in Seattle, WA.  In 2008,  Olympia Dumpster Divers posted about her controversial ornament.   More pics from Saturday’s art opening HERE and HERE 

‘Opala Art in Hawai’i

Aloha!  While on vacation on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Ruby Re-Usable saw some art made from ‘opala (Hawaiian for trash):

We went to Studio 7 Fine Arts Gallery and got a tour of Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa, which offers art classes for adults and youth

collaborative installation by Kathleen Dunphy and Melany Kerver at Donkey Mill

youth recycled art at Donkey Mill Art Center

In Volcano, we visited the Volcano Art Center and Volcano Garden Arts, where we saw art work by Ira Ono and an artsy ukulele by Patrick Inouye

Ira Ono art at Volcano Garden Arts

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)

More Hawaiian Trash Art HERE & Here & HERE & Here & HERE & Here & HERE

Primo beer can ukulele by Patrick Inouye at Volcano Art Center

Recycle Art: Marita Dingus and Mar Goman and ODD 6th BD!

The 6th birthday of Olympia Dumpster Divers is this Friday, July 13.  We started the blog as a way to tell the story of “Ephemeral Folks,” Ruby Re-Usable’s HERE TODAY temporary art installation project for the City of Olympia in the summer of 2006.  After the project was over, we realized that we wanted to keep on posting about our own work, as well as the work of  our friends/fellow artists who create art from recycled materials, here in Olympia, the Pacific Northwest, the USA, and around the world.  We were and continue to be inspired by Cynthia K’s Art for Housewives, which we think of as the OG of recycle art blogs.  Two other trashy blogs that we love started up in the summer of 2006: Everyday Trash and The Visible Trash Society

Marita Dingus hanging figures at Francine Seders Gallery photo by Liesel Lund

This blog was started on the birthday of our favorite recycle artist, who just had a show at Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle (June 8 – July 8, 2012):

For more than twenty-five years Marita Dingus has chosen to make art from castoff materials, and this choice and the reason behind it has largely shaped her work. In a 2008 statement she wrote: “I use discarded materials because I see people of African descent as being used during the institution of slavery and then discarded…The goal of my art remains to show people’s ability not only to survive but to prosper under dire circumstances.” Limiting her materials in this way has been a valuable constraint for Dingus. She has an unparalleled ability to select and combine unusual materials in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. Marita Dingus presents an eclectic body of work in her upcoming show. Her emphasis is on the figure—painted faces, “fence people” (figures set into architectural frameworks), and small freestanding or hanging figures—but she continues to make fences and baskets as well. For several years Dingus incorporated glass elements into her work, but in this show she returns to her original mix of re-purposed fabric, leather, plastic, and found objects.

Marita and her beloved at Francine Seders Gallery

Showing with Marita in the main gallery was a Portland artist that we admire:

Mar Goman works in several art forms and with a variety of materials; nevertheless, there is a distinctive feel to her work that comes from its made-by-hand aesthetic and thematic grounding in spiritual traditions. The current show will include both two- and three-dimensional pieces. Goman’s small collages, made from found vintage papers and objects as well as other media, often combine text with images. They are carefully composed and crafted but have the immediacy of diary pages. Her sculpture often consists of grouped multiple objects or figures that she has made and embellished with text, found objects, and other ephemera. Small in size and simply made of mundane materials, these works carry considerable spiritual weight.

Mar Goman at Francine Seders Gallery

Liesel Lund’s posts with lots of great pics of the show HERE and HERE

more about Marita Dingus HERE and HERE

more Mar Goman HERE and HERE and HERE

PS if you want to send ODD birthday wishes via post, mail them to:                          Ruby Re-Usable, Diva of the Olympia Dumpster Divers                                          416 Washington St SE #201A                                                                                     Olympia, WA 98501 USA

Art from Scrap

Last month we told you all about the art heist at Matter Gallery; unfortunately,  we have no updates to report as of yet.  This month we are posting about Matter Gallery again:  forty of Matter’s artists have work in the Art from Scrap exhibit at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.  Highlights of this exhibit include:

an assemblage by Vblast

She Weaves a Tangled Web by Vblast

a Mexican folk art-inspired piece by Loran Scruggs‘:

Our Lady of Bottle Caps by Loran Scruggs

a colorful baby by Ruby Re-Usable:

Crazy Quilt Plastic Patch Baby by Ruby Re-Usable

a plastic bag dragon by Bil Fleming and Christine Malek:

Polyethylene Fiend (detail) by Christine Malek and BIl Fleming

Art from Scrap runs February 3 – 28; see more pics HERE and HERE, read what Molly Gilmore wrote about this show in the Olympian and what Alec Clayton of the Volcano thinks (hint: he loves painting but doesn’t think the dragon is art) and then tell us about your favorite piece

The inspiration for this exhibit was the innovative and energetic Canadian group, ScrapArtsMusic, who performed at the Washington Center on 2/4/12

RecyclArt in Issaquah

Marita Dingus with one of her recycle art fences at the artEAST RecyclArt Show opening

So this past Friday, Olympia Dumpster Divers Ruby Re-Usable and Pat Tassoni ventured up to Issaquah, WA for the opening of artEAST’s juried RecyclArt Show, where we met up with fellow artists who work with the materials most people either throw away or put into their recycling bins.  Our friends Jenny Fillius and Kelly Lyles were there, along with many of the participating artists, including Nia Michaels, Tom AndersonEsther Ervin, Vblast, Suzanne Tidwell,  and Marita Dingus (who, as a guest juror, was invited to display a piece in the show).  The variety of materials and techniques used to create the sculptures, wall hangings, and other objects on exhibit was, as usual for this genre, intriguing, inventive, humorous and fun.  View pics from the opening HERE

Figure drawings from torn paper bags at artEAST RecyclArt show (artists unknown)

We also took a few pics of the Proletkult group show at the Blowing Sands Gallery in Ballard, (which ends October 5, 2011) and the pics from last month’s Olympia Film Society’s What You Got Zombie Trash Fashion Show at the Capitol Theater are HERE

MEANWHILE, our man in Armenia, Bil Fleming, is blogging about his dumpster diving adventures while being an artist-in-residence there: Bilinarmenia

Zombie M models a Macy's plastic shopping bag (plastic is the un-dead of detritus ... )


Ruby Reports: Recycled Art Shows and Trash Fashions

WELL!  Last time we posted, we promised more about the Icicle Arts Recycled Art Fest that we attend the other weekend.  We had a trashtastic time, hanging out with our fellow dumpster divers and dining out on decidedly non-dumpster diving fare (mmm, plantains and mole and other Latin food at South).  On Friday night, there was a panel discussion about what is recycled art, the impact and ramifications of recycled art, and examples of how recycled art can influence a community, culture or the world.

Tessa chooses her recycled materials for her trashion outfit at Ruby's Trash Fashion Workshop at Icicle Arts Recycled Art Fest '11

We spent Friday and Saturday judging the recycled art entries, and on Saturday there were lots of workshops, including Marita Dingus’ “Recycled Little People,” Ruby Re-Usable’s “Project Throwaway,” and “Pop Can Whirly Gigs” with Ross P Beecher.

Making pop can whirly gigs with Ross P Beecher at Icicle Arts Recycled Art Fest '11

Sunday was the Trash to Fash Runway and Awards Show; two of her students’ pieces plus five of Ruby’s trashion fashions were the show’s finale.  We regret that we did not take more pics (especially of the art that was on display), but the panel discussion and fashion show were both videotaped, and there is a catalog available of the recycled art show.  More info at Icicle Arts and more pics on Ruby’s flickr HERE

Don't Flip Your Lid design by Ruby Re-Usable photo by Heidi Swoboda for Icicle Arts

MEANWHILE, Molly Gilmore at the Weekly Volcano has the scoop about the Zombie Trash Fashion Show that is happening this weekend as part of the Olympia Film Society’s What You Got Fest and Ruby will be there to cheer them on!

ALSO: Ruby has a few sculptures made from recycled materials included in an invitational group show at Blowing Sands Gallery this month in Ballard (Seattle, WA) and just sent off a few pieces to the juried artEAST RecyclArt Show in Issquah, WA that opens next month (more info and photos will be forth coming, stay tuned)

Recycled Art Show in Wenatchee

SO!  We told you that Ruby Re-Usable will join Marita Dingus, Ross P Beecher and Jenny Fillius at the Icicle Arts Recycled Art Fest in Leavenworth, WA, where we will be part of a panel discussion about recycled art, present recycled art workshops, and judge the recycled art show and trash fashion show.  Did we also mention that we are part of a recycled art show at the Wenatchee Museum?  And that we went to the art opening last Friday?  Posted some pics HERE  and reposted the article about the show below (because newspaper links seem to disappear).  Looking forward to a trashy artsy weekend!

Junk reborn as art for show

Exhibit explores the beauty of recycling

By Christine Pratt
The Wenatchee World staff writer

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


World photo/Don Seabrook

Bill Rietveldt, left, and Denny Driver install pieces of art for the recycled-art display at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center last week. The exhibit, which debuted Friday, features art from jurors of “Recycled Art,” a show presented in Leavenworth by Icicle Arts. The piece at center is called “Bag Lady” and is made from Wonder Bread bags by Olympia artist Diane Kurzyna, who also goes by the name Ruby Re-Usable. The exhibit continues through Oct. 1.


World photo/Don Seabrook

Denny Driver thinks about how to install Kurzyna’s piece last week.

WENATCHEE — A small, bright-yellow deep-sea-diver-looking object is suspended by a thread inside a display case at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. It’s so vivid, you can spot it from across the lobby.

Walk a little closer and you’ll see what he’s made of — plastic bread ties, the plastic ring that stays around the neck of a plastic milk gallon after removing the cap, hair combs, beads, buttons, small toys — all plastic and repurposed and bright yellow and wrapped in netting shaped like a little man.

It’s “Yellow Plastic Trash Gyre Baby,” by Olympia artist Diane Kurzyna, aka “Ruby Re-Usable.” It’s part of the museum’s new exhibit of recycled art. The show continues through Oct. 1.

Everything in the show is like that — intriguing from afar, ingenious and smile-provoking up close.

“We all have this kind of junk lying around, but we don’t think of putting it together in interesting ways,” Emily Siroky of East Wenatchee said Friday.

She and friend Diane Goody of Wenatchee popped into the museum during the exhibit’s kick-off reception Friday, part of the city’s First Friday’s downtown art walk.

“I like the notion of creating beauty out of what someone else would consider useless,” Goody said.


World photo/Christine Pratt

Recycled glass and copper works by Seattle-area artist Maria Ruano are part of the exhibit.


World photo/Christine Pratt

“Well Heeled” by Seattle-area artist Stephen Braun is made entirely of recycled leather and rubber boot heels.

Both quilters, the women lingered a bit in front of Ross Palmer Beecher’s “7-Up Quilt,” a patchwork of strips of 7-Up cans and rubber arranged around bits of red tail-light covers.

“It’s easy to say, ‘I could do that,’ but would you think of it?” Siroky said.

The exhibit’s seven Seattle-area artists chose their own works for museum display. Next weekend they’ll be in Leavenworth judging the recycled works of other artists competing for the 2011 Icicle Prize.

Many of those works are already on display at Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat and Barn Beach Reserve. More should be installed by next weekend.

Several of the artists were on hand Friday, including Jenny Fillius of Seattle, to talk about her colorful creations of recycled tin, held together by nails or rivets.

She keeps her eyes open for materials to transform, including old kitchen tins from the residents of the retirement community where she works.

In fact, a lot of the material she uses arrives on its own.

“People leave things in my driveway. They leave it hanging on the fence, on the porch. People know I do this,” she said.

The exhibit is a collaboration of the museum, Icicle Arts, Sleeping Lady and the Icicle Fund. For more information on the exhibit and artists, call the museum at 888-6240 or visit, click on “Departments,” drag down to “Museum.”

Christine Pratt: 665-1173

Ruby Re-Usable on Facebook

Recycled Art Fest in Washington

Ruby Re-Usable is excited about being part of the recycled art fest that will be happening in Leavenworth, WA, September 10 – 12.  The 2011 Icicle Arts Festival includes a juried recycled art show, a trash fashion show, and guest artists Brian James Priest, Maria Ruano, Stephen Braun, Ross Palmer Beecher, Jenny Fillius, Marita Dingus and Ruby Re-Usable, all of whom will present workshops and/or panel discussions as well as judge the art show.  We can not wait to tell you all about it, but in the meantime, check out the poster image that includes the trash fashion collaboration between Revivre and Ruby:

A Whiter Shade of Trash by Revivre and Ruby Re-Usable is featured on the Icicle Arts Fest poster