We here at Olympia Dumpster Divers <3 handmade, reused hearty art:
Take a peek at Ruby Re-Usable’s Recycled Heart Art gallery on flickr
Check out these 50 Recycled and Repurposed Valentines
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
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 Senn, Earth911
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 Plowshares; Trash Rap; Q & A with Fashion and Jewelry Designer Baby Steinberg; 100 Trashy Transformations
DON’T FORGET TO “LIKE” RUBY RE-USABLE ON FACEBOOK!
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 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
Learn how to make a Steel Cheerleader Dress Sculpture
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
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)
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 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 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.
The otherworldly art of Aurora Robson:
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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
April seems to be one of the busiest months for Olympia Dumpster Divers. We, of course, believe that every day is Earth Day, but it is still nice to have special events that celebrate reducing, reusing, recycling, et al. The Olympia Timberland Regional Library, in conjunction with Olympia Spring Arts Walk, is joining in on the celebration: art from recycled materials, created by students in workshops with Nora Walsh and Ruby Re-Usable, will be on display this weekend at the downtown Olympia library. Nora worked with younger students to sew sock kitties, and Ruby showed students in grades 4 – 12 how to make fantastical flora and fauna figurines out of plastic bottles and old socks and other junk. More pics HERE and HERE.
… the book is actually not all about dumpsters- its a series of stories about my first show, at Rosco Louie, and sort of my art in general in about 1978. So really only those first two pages are specifically about dumpsters, although dumpster materials are mentioned from time to time. Ries Niemi
Ries Niemi’s booklet, I Might Have Been There, is available HERE
We also are intrigued by his Giant Blue Dress:
Giant Blue Dress is 12 feet tall, made from recycled blue tarp woven over a steel armature, it fills the gallery reaching from wall to wall, and up to the ceiling. It hovers above the floor, floating in space. Its a structure, a wearable yurt. Its a goddess monument. Its a reflection on the influence that the book The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass, had on me as a teenager. I built it full scale, then cut it into pieces small enough to fit through the standard 3 foot wide door of the gallery, and sewed it back together inside. Ries Niemi
More Ries Niemi HERE