Upcycle Style: Fashionable Fife

The Diva of the Olympia Dumpster Divers, Ruby Re-Usable, and Darcy Anderson (Team Tinkertopia in Tacoma) presented a trash fashion show on 9/13/14, as part of the Valley Ballyhoo Performing Arts Show in Fife, WA.  This was a first time collaboration between Ms Re-Usable and Ms Darcy, but as Ruby (and Jacqueline Susann) likes to say, “Once Is Not Enough,” so we look forward to more of these events in the South Puget Sound region (and beyond) in the future!

Ruby wearing a bag from Mason County recycling that reads "Once Is Not Enough"

Ruby Re-Usable is wearing a bag from Shelton/Mason County Recycling that once held recyclables

Ruby was introduced to Trash Fashion through Robin Worley/Rayona Visqueen of Haute Trash; she has since participated as a designer in trash fashion shows such as Trash Fashion Futures, Icicle Arts Trash to Fash Runway & Awards Show, Trashion at the Indiana Welcome Center, and the Seattle RE Store’s 10th Trash Fashion Show, among others.  She really wanted to work with Ms Darcy after seeing her as a “Daffodil Princess” in the window of Tinkertopia (where she is co-proprietress), so when the Fife Arts Commission asked Ruby to participate in the Valley Ballyhoo, she invited Darcy to join her, and a Trashionista was born!  Darcy got her talented Tacoma friends to work with her on Team Tinkertopia, thus inspiring even more creative folks to discover their inner trashion designer.

Ms Darcy as a Daffodil Princess in the window of Tinkertopia

Ms Darcy as a Daffodil Princess in the window of Tinkertopia, wearing brown paper packaging trimmed with yellow plastic lids and yellow duct tape

Trash Fashion is meant to be an “edutainment” event, combining information about recycling and other environmental issues with art and humor to create a show that is both entertaining and educational.  We also aim to be inclusive and body-positive, utilizing our friends and local volunteers as models.  The Upcycle Style show in Fife was no exception: our models ranged in age from elementary school to fifty-something, and we wowed the crowd with some of our classic trash fashions, along with some exciting new creations.  This show was also a learning experience for Ruby … like, how the show must go on, even if the microphone and pedestal disappear right before you go on stage (yes, this happened), along with other stuff (don’t ask).  We regret that we did not have any professional photographers to document this show, but we do have some pics on Flickr HERE and a cell phone vid posted on YouTube HERE

Upcycle Style trashionistas backstage

some of the Upcycle Style trashionistas backstage

 

Steve Jensen’s Art Boats

Last Friday, Olympia Dumpster Divers attended the Percival Landing sculpture exhibit kick off party here in Olympia, WA.  It was a lovely little reception at the Harbor House, where chips and dips and non-alcoholic beverages were served and ballots passed out for the People’s Choice 2014 Percival Plinth Project.

Steve Jensen and Viking Bot at Percival Landing

Steve Jensen and Viking Bot at Percival Landing

Several of the thirteen pieces on display are made from recycled materials: Bil Fleming‘s “Basin of Quenched Fire” is a reclaimed sea buoy mounted on a tractor cog; in one of its previous reincarnations, it also served as a backyard fire pan.  Don Freas made “OPENING (Ring Dance #9)” out of a scrap length of heavy channel iron, some three inch and six inch pipe, a salvaged sprinkler pipe, and a cast-iron table base.  John Vanek used repurposed metal for “Dignity in Labor.”

But our vote for best sculpture (made out of recycled materials, of course) is Steve Jensen‘s “Viking Bot.”  We admire the elegant simplicity of repurposing railroad spikes (found by our mutual friend/fellow upcycle artist Russ Morgan while walking the tracks) into a vessel full of symbolism.  Steve, a Seattle native, comes from a long line of Norwegian fishermen and boat builders.  The image of the boat is meant to symbolize a voyage to the other side, or the journey into the unknown:

My best friend Sylvain did a drawing of a boat. When he gave it to me, he asked if I would make a carved boat for his ashes when he passed. He died a month later and I carved a boat as close to Sylvain’s drawing as possible. My mother came to Sylvain’s funeral and was so moved by the boat I had made for Sylvain that she wanted my father’s remains placed in a similar vessel when he passed. Since he was a Norwegian fisherman and boat builder, we buried the boat at sea, like a Viking funeral. Two years later when she passed, I created a boat for her and buried it at sea with my father. The day before John, my partner of twenty years, passed, he asked me to make a boat for his ashes. His wish was to be buried at sea with my parents. In the course of eight years I had tragically lost and buried everyone close to me.

Since that time I have created funeral boats for friends, family and pets. Art school never prepared me to work with human or animal ashes, but I feel honored to be asked and to have this opportunity. When I work with them, I feel transformed to another time or another place, an artist who has been asked to be both craftsman and mortician.

I began the Voyager Series to help me deal with my own grief and loss, and with hope to provide relief for others dealing with their own sorrow. I made this work as personal as possible because death is such a sensitive subject for many people. I felt that by exposing myself and my family, the viewers of this work might feel more at ease. Hopefully, for those who may be dealing with their own personal grief and loss, perhaps solace and insight can be found in this series.

I created the boats in this series approximately the same size as the actual boats used for burial. Carved in wood, painted, or sculpted, this work is a direct result of these experiences. Death is the one final thing we all have in common. The universal image of a boat in many cultures and civilizations symbolizes a voyage, perhaps the voyage to the “other side”, or the journey into the unknown.

You have until August 31 to vote for your favorite 2014 Peoples’ Choice Award Percival Landing Sculpture.  Read more in the 0lympian HERE             
 

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!

 

Happy Hearts Day

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 

Jennifer Kuhns recycled glass mosaic heart

Jennifer Kuhns recycled glass mosaic heart
Today and Tomorrow by Eric Osborne at Matter Gallery

Today and Tomorrow by Eric Osborne at Matter Gallery

plastic bag heart garland via Aunt Peaches

plastic bag heart garland via Aunt Peaches

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

Earth Day Recycled Art Dolls

student at work on Earth Day art project using recycled materials

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.

2 mermaids made from recycled materials