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 

Have a Trash-free New Year

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

Still our favorite art from recycled materials blog: Art for Housewives

And still our favorite trash blog: everydaytrash

Our wish for 2014: Good Luck (by Jenny Fillius)

Our wish for 2014: Good Luck (by Jenny Fillius)

More Favorites: Lady Bug Circus (tin assemblage), Barbara De Pirro, Pat-Works (heavy metal with light), Matter! Gallery (art and sustainability), Visible Trash, Marita Dingus, Haute Trash, Patti Shaw, Recycle Runway, Holly SennEarth911

New favorites: Inspiration to feed your recycling mind: RecyclartReuse, reclaim, reimagine: Haute NatureArtist self portrait from recycled bottle caps (via Great Green Goods), Toys from Trash

Things we were going to post about and never got around to it until now:  25 Ways to Reuse Cans (thanks, Urban Woodswalker); Sculptor John T Young: Turning Swords into PlowsharesTrash RapQ & A with Fashion and Jewelry Designer Baby Steinberg100 Trashy Transformations


Have a Trash-free New Year!

Have a Trash-free New Year! via Ecouterre


GO TEAM: Donna McCullough

Thank you to our Olympia Dumpster Divers friend Urban Woodswalker for turning us on to Junk Culture and also to Donna McCullough’s Sculptural Dresses Crafted from Vintage Oil Cans which are now at Morpeth Contemporary Gallery

Donna McCullough Drill Team series

Donna McCullough is a recipient of the “Recognition of Excellence” award from the James Renwick Alliance, a national non-profit that supports the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, which celebrates the achievements of America’s craft artists.

I am known mostly for my work depicting women’s dresses, which are a diary of sorts that chronicle my life events. The dress sculptures have grown and changed through time – Initially dealing with the treatment of women in the workplace and presently speak of rejoicing in the possibility that life brings; our union with nature and going forth in beauty. The pieces are created from various metals including steel and vintage oil cans.  Donna McCullough

More Sculptural Fashion Created From Oil Cans

Learn how to make a Steel Cheerleader Dress Sculpture

Buster Simpson at the Frye

Buster Simpson has a retrospective of his work at the Frye Art Museum.  We went to Seattle to see  Buster Simpson/Surveyor twice; if you can not make it to the Frye (hurry, the show closes October 13, but it is FREE), you can at least read what Jen Graves has to say about our hero: Everything to Know About Buster Simpson in One Place

Buster Simpson Frye Art Museum Crow IMGP8762

You should also know what Regina Hackett had to say about this awesome artist:

Simpson doesn’t just straddle the divide between the functional and the poetic; he makes it disappear. In so doing, he has given the Northwest a revitalized myth of itself.  Regina Hackett, Earth Day Salute, 4/20/08

(and you can see Ruby’s flickr pics from the Buster Simpson/Surveyor HERE)

This Re-Usable Life: New Jersey

Ruby Re-Usable made a pilgrimage back to her home state this summer, and while she did not get to check out all of the weird, wonderful, artsy and trashy sites of New Jersey, she did get to briefly visit the Jersey Shore, specifically, the Asbury Park area, where she was impressed by the art from salvaged materials of Roddy Wildeman.

Roddy Wildeman in his studio

Roddy Wildeman in his studio at Torche’ Galerie in Belmar, NJ

Roddy owns and manages Torche’ Galerie in Belmar, NJ.    For the past 15 years, he has also worked as a carpenter, renovating homes and reusing salvaged wood for his starburst assemblages:

During the renovation process I watched as building debris and other materials piled up to be discarded. I began to feel mixed emotions as I thought about the history associated with these items.

I decided to ask the residents if I could salvage this material-building debris, metal and furniture. I began to repurpose and use it to make art. Although I’m not formally trained as an artist, I worked under master carpenters and absorbed their craft. There is something about knowing these items have been cherished that inspires me. I feel an intimate connection working with materials knowing they have passed through the hands of others. They have sentimental value, because they have been part of homes and the families that lived, loved and died there.

Roddy Wildeman's studio at Torche' Galerie, Belmar, NJ

Roddy Wildeman’s studio at Torche’ Galerie, Belmar, NJ

Roddy Wildeman’s work took on a greater poignancy when he started using debris from the boardwalks demolished by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  The artwork has become a way to memorialize the shore communities. Pieces include debris from a number of shore towns, including Ocean Grove’s fishing pier and Long Branch.

wood assemblage by Roddy Wildeman

wood assemblage by Roddy Wildeman

More about Roddy Wildeman HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

Aurora Robson’s environmental art

The otherworldly art of Aurora Robson:

The Great Indoors by Aurora Robson at Rice University Gallery 2008

Aurora Robson: The Great Indoors

At Rice University Art Gallery, New York artist Aurora Robson recycles 15,000 plastic bottles into one spectacular, room-sized work of art called The Great Indoors. Visitors enter the gallery through membrane-like, translucent tunnels and move through a colorful landscape based loosely on the micro-world of cellular processes. Attracted by the idea of re-use, as well as by the beauty and complex curves of plastic bottles, Robson used more than 15,000 of them in her installation at Rice Gallery. Robson let the shape and thickness of each bottle determine how she cut it. Then, using heat and at least 55,000 rivets, she constructed and painted lavishly detailed organic forms, which bring to mind deep-sea creatures, jungle plants, and microorganisms. Such allusions to hidden worlds are fitting since it is childhood dreams of oozing blobs and strings that Robson names as the source of all her work.


More Aurora Robson HERE and HERE

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Springtide Dancers by Diane Kurzyna

Ruby Re-Usable has been reusing plastic bags in her art work since 1999 (Wonder Bread bags since 2000).  In 2004 she was commissioned by the City of Olympia to create a piece of art that would be used as the cover image for the spring Arts Walk map, and also become part of the city’s public art collection.  Using shopping bags from local businesses, in combination with other stuff (including decorative plastic sushi “grass,” foil from sparkling apple cider bottles, plastic film canisters, pony beads, soda straws, thrift store Xmas garland, reused chenille stems, a gum wrapper chain, ribbon scraps, plastic bread tags, an empty plastic cap ring, and a pop top), Ruby created Springtide Dancers: three doll-like figures with plastic bottles and cardboard tubes for an armature, covered with old socks and dressed in those colorful plastic bags.

detail of degrading Wonder Bread pants

Fast forward 9 years later, when Ruby notices that the Wonder Bread bag pants of one of the figures have seriously faded and are also photodegrading.  While Wonder Bread is no longer available, Ruby did have a small stash of Wonder Bread bags still available for the necessary repair work.  More pics of the before and after work HERE

Springtide Dancers at Olympia Center (without plexiglass cover)

Maybe the City of Olympia will allow Ruby Re-Usable to include an informational tag on her piece about the dangers of plastic bags; or maybe she will just have to create a new piece of reused plastic bag art that has the information integrated into the art work!

Read more about the problems with plastic bags and how photodegradation creates smaller, more toxic petro-polymers HERE and HERE and HERE

ps Nine years later, we are happy to report that some of those shops are still in business AND have stopped using plastic shopping bags; the City of Olympia/Thurston County are considering banning plastic bags

Mavericks with Magnificent Marita

Marita Dingus and Ruby Re-Usable

Marita Dingus and Ruby Re-Usable worked with all of the 7th graders  at McClure Middle School in Seattle for 3 days (5/15 – 5/17/2013) to create “mavericks” (the school mascot) out of discarded plastic stuff which they attached with telephone wire to a black plastic mesh that was purchased at the RE Store.  There were 5 classes (about 130 students total), so 5 horses were created for display in the main entry way.   The installation should happen in June, so stayed tuned.  Some pics from the project HERE

maverick made from mostly black plastic, with rainbow mane and tail

We were interviewed for the school newspaper, and one of the students asked us how did we meet; so we told him how back in 1986 we were both in a juried craft show at the (old) Tacoma Art Museum, and were really impressed by the other’s work. It was Marita who turned Ruby on to the joys of using a glue gun!  And it was during a brainstorming session in Ruby’s living room, with Marita wondering what to do with a bunch of fabric and telephone wire, that the “snake” project was born, which became the basis for the “animals” and “little people” projects.  Watch a vid of Marita demonstrating How to Make Little People with Marita Dingus on Vimeo

Woman As the Creator by Marita Dingus at Town Hall

On May 17, 2013, Marita Dingus donated her amazing 18′ tall piece, Woman As the Creator (which made its debut at the Sonja Henning Museum in Oslo before being shown at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma), to Town Hall in honor of Louise McKenny