More Marita Dingus at Northwest African American Museum

Teacups and friends photo by Spike Mafford

Teacups and Friends from Marita Dingus: At Home  photo by Spike Mafford

We went up to Seattle the other week with our friend and idol, the Queen of the recycled art scene, Marita Dingus, to see her latest exhibit at the Northwest African American Museum.  The exhibition, entitled Marita Dingus: At Home, includes the baskets, quilts, and dolls made from a myriad of recycled materials that were once formerly shown at Francine Seders Gallery, with photos by Spike Mafford of how these objects look in Marita’s home studio, where they are casually combined with her doll collection, outside in her goat pen, or being utilized to hold art supplies.  The show is up until May 26, 2014.  More Marita Dingus HERE and HERE and HERE, more pics of this show HERE

Marita at NWAM 2014-04-30 11.53.23


Oly Arts Walk: recycle art review

Well, the weather for the Spring Olympia Arts Walk weekend was cold and damp mixed with rain and a little hail and then some rainbows, the usual Northwest fickle spring … not very conducive for wandering around admiring art.  However, since we did promise to follow up on our Earth Day Arts Walk preview, Ruby pulled on some rubber boots and managed to leave Cast Off Art Lab long enough to take a few pictures of art from recycled materials on display:

"Rise Above Plastics: the Butterfly Effect" by Carrie Ziegler and Jennifer Johnson and 700 students out of reused juice pouches, at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts

“Rise Above Plastics: the Butterfly Effect” by Carrie Ziegler, Jennifer Johnson, and 700 students, made with reused juice pouches, at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts

We were delighted to see this installation in person and to meet Carrie and Jennifer.  Carrie even purchased one of Ruby’s repurposed pink plastic bag flower fascinators!  The installation will be up at the Washington Center for awhile (not sure how long).

detail of "The Butterfly Effect"

detail of “The Butterfly Effect”

Carrie Ziegler wearing Ruby Re-Usable's upcycled pink plastic bag flower fascintor

Carrie Ziegler wearing Ruby Re-Usable’s upcycled pink plastic bag flower fascintor








Next we went to Capitol Florist, where proprietor Cynthia Salazar collaborated with Joe Batt to create large nests made from natural materials and found trash:

"Salvage" nest by Cynthia Salazar and Joe Batt

“Salvage” nest by Cynthia Salazar and Joe Batt

There were also artists and craftspeople set up on the streets.  We ran into Jeanne McCarthy, who makes funky jewelry from thrift store finds, and a couple who makes birdhouses out of salvaged barn boards.  At Matter Gallery, the entire place is always filled with art from green/sustainable/recycled materials; we especially admired this canine visitor wearing doggie trash fashion:

Gizmo at Matter Gallery in aluminum pop tops chain mail

Gizmo at Matter Gallery in aluminum pop tops chain mail

Ruby did not take to the streets with her shopping cart full of colorful heads wearing colorful repurposed plastic bag flower fascinators; instead, she hung out at the Capitol Theater Building studios with Three Bad Seeds, Steven Suski, and Arrington de Dionyso.  See more pics HERE 

ps it was too rainy for Ruby to take any pics of the parade: view it on YouTube

Olympia Earth Day Arts Walk

Happy Oly Arts Walk!  Olympia Arts Walk brings out the creativity in our citizens, and every year more folks are working with trash/recycled materials to make amazing art.  Here is a preview:

"Rise Above Plastics: the Butterfly Effect" photo by Steve Bloom/The 0lympian

“Rise Above Plastics: the Butterfly Effect” photo by Steve Bloom/The 0lympian

Thurston County solid waste educator Carrie Ziegler and environmental health educator Jennifer Johnson worked with more than 700 students to create “Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect,” an installation made from reused juice pouches, which is on display in the lobby of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.  (#81 on the Arts Walk map)   More info HERE

"Blue Moon" mosaic by Jennifer Kuhns

“Blue Moon” mosaic by Jennifer Kuhns

Jennifer Kuhns will once again have her mosaics made from salvaged stain glass and other materials in the window of Hot Toddy (#95 on Arts Walk map).

Oly TRL librarian Sarah P wearing an original Ruby Re-Usable repurposed plastic bag flower fascinator

Oly TRL librarian Sarah P wearing an original Ruby Re-Usable repurposed plastic bag flower fascinator

The Olympia Timberland Regional Library has Peeps Art Dioramas, Lincoln Elementary School youth art, and recycled materials sculptures made by youths with Tinkertopia (#70 on Arts Walk map).

Three Bad Seeds wool pillow cat

Three Bad Seeds wool pillow cat

Ruby’s studio mate, Amanda Weiss of Three Bad Seeds, transforms old wool sweaters and blankets into not-quite-toys-but-not-quite-traditional pillows (#107 on Arts Walk map).

Matter Gallery always has art from green/sustainable/recycled materials on display (#109 on the Arts Walk map), plus daily comic strips by Chelsea Baker (who utilized cardboard packaging to mount her strips)

Ruby Re-Usable (w/friend Linda C) and her shopping cart of repurposed plastic bag flower fascinators

Ruby Re-Usable (w/friend Linda C) and her shopping cart of repurposed plastic bag flower fascinators

And of course, Ruby Re-Usable will also be around for Arts Walk, either at the studio (416 Washington St SE, which is #107 on the Arts Walk map) or, weather permitting, wandering the streets with her shopping cart full of fabulous repurposed plastic bag flower fascinators for sale.

We will have more pics and a review after the event (Olympia Spring Arts Walk: 4/25, 5 pm – 9 pm and 4/26, noon – 9 pm, PotS parade at 4:30 pm, downtown Olympia, WA USA)

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 ... )