Olympia Earth Day Arts Walk

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

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)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Springtide Dancers at Olympia Center (without plexiglass cover)

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

Khalil Chishtee

"Your success, my failure" by Khalil Chishtee

Just discovered Khalil Chishtee‘s compelling plastic bag sculptures:

"Your success, my failure" by Khalil Chishtee

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

More Khalil Chishtee HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE, video HERE

Wonder Bread Bag Art

Wonder Babies by Ruby Re-Usable 2012

Wonder Babies by Ruby Re-Usable 2012

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.

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being series by Ruby Re-Usable 2000

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)

Bag Lady in the Alley by Ruby Re-Usable 2006

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

Wonder Bra and Slip by Ruby Re-Usable 2008


Art from Scrap

Crazy Quilt Plastic Patch Baby by Ruby Re-Usable

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

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.


RecyclArt in Issaquah

Marita Dingus at artEAST RecyclArt Show

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 ... )


ODD Is Back!

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

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