Marita Dingus: “Hanging from the Rafters” at BIMA

It is always amazing and inspiring to see what Marita Dingus is up to in her studio; last summer, I got a sneak preview of the 27 foot figure she was creating for the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art:

Marita Dingus work-in-progress 27 foot figure for BIMA
Marita Dingus work-in-progress 27 foot figure for BIMA

Finally got to see the finished piece installed in the entry window of Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, where it will remain on display through this summer.

detail of Marita Dingus installation at BIMA
detail of Marita Dingus installation at BIMA

Fun to get close to her work and wonder “what IS that?” and marvel at how she utilizes such disparate objects and shapes to create such an awesome whole.

Marita Dingus installation at BIMA photo by Robert Wade
Marita Dingus installation at BIMA , photo by Robert Wade







Happy Earth Day 2016

At Olympia Dumpster Divers, we, of course, believe every day is Earth Day, but we do appreciate the officially designated holiday as a way to emphasize and celebrate the love for Mother Earth.

LOVE your mother earth day

Here in Olympia, Washington, USA, there is the annual Spring Olympia Arts Walk, which this year happens to coincide with Earth Day and always has lots of sustainable/recycled/upcycled/green/Earth-Day themed art (plus a parade), including Carrie Ziegler‘s latest community-participation installation at WET Science Center; read more about it HERE

One Water - The Infinite Journey installation detail by Carrie Zielger
One Water – The Infinite Journey installation detail by Carrie Zielger

In Seattle, our friend Terra Holcomb will unveil “Terra Spiritus”  at Method Gallery; she will also be giving an artist talk today (which is also her birthday — Happy Earthday Birthday, Terra!).

Terra Spiritus by Terra Holcomb
Terra Spiritus (detail) by Terra Holcomb

Terra Spiritus is a 12 foot tall moss dress that is inspired by tree hollows found in Washington’s old growth trees in the Olympic and North Cascade forests. Visitors are invited to rest inside the epic dress to reconnect with the sounds of nature, while discovering hidden surprises tucked in the mossy cave

And at the Portland airport baggage claim, we have Nancy Judd‘s PDX Weather Advisory:

Nancy Judd


So HAPPY EARTH DAY to everyone and Chag Pesach Sameach, too!

Plastic Bottles, Caps, and Bags: Recycle Art Installations of Barbara De Pirro

Our friend Barbara De Pirro has been busy working on her labor-intensive recycle art installations all over the Pacific Northwest.

Flourish by Barbara De Pirro at On the Fringe, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts 2015
Flourish by Barbara De Pirro at On the Fringe, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts 2015

The amount of plastic bottles, plastic caps, and plastic bags that she crochets, weaves, staples, and strings together to create her colorful pieces is impressive.

Flora, Flourish 1 & 2, Metamorphosis, Roots & Vines by Barbara DePirro at Arts at the Port, Anacortes Arts Festival 2015
Flora, Flourish 1 & 2, Metamorphosis, Roots & Vines by Barbara DePirro at Arts at the Port, Anacortes Arts Festival 2015

The fact that there is so much plastic waste is depressing — Americans alone discard over 33.6 million tons of plastic each year. Plastics are a plague upon this planet.

Plastic is a plague on the planet

Guerrilla Recycled Art in Olympia

Olympia Dumpster Divers first read about Guerrilla Man in The Weekly Volcano (Hanging with the Mysterious Artist Guerrilla Man) back in November 2013.

Guerrilla Man sculpture underneath I-5
Guerrilla Man sculpture underneath I-5

The Volcano named his work “Best Guerrilla Art” in Olympia 2014.  Then King 5 Evening News Magazine followed him into the woods and under the freeway to film him: view The Unknown Olympia Artist for more info.  

Second-hand Sid sits with Guerrilla Man sculpture in the woods
Second-hand Sid sits with Guerrilla Man sculpture in the woods

Second-hand Sid and Ruby Re-Usable finally figured out where these sculptures are (hint: they are in Tumwater, not Olympia).

Guerrilla Man writes that the sculptures underneath I-5 are “a revision and repurposing of the sculptural elements of a previous project.”  As far as we can tell, these figures have been there since September 2013.  The installations in the woods seem to have started around that time, too, using materials that were found on the site (plus some extra wire and nails).  Inspired by graffiti, Guerrilla Man’s unsanctioned art is worth searching for.  The experience of finding art in unusual/hidden/unauthorized places is part of the excitement of this kind of work.  See more pics HERE

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)

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

(Recycled)Art at Work in Tacoma: Holly Senn



 Tacoma artist Holly A. Senn is a sculptor and installation artist. She “explores the life cycle of ideas–the organic process in which thoughts have a genesis and then are disseminated, forgotten or referenced.”  A part-time virtual  reference librarian by day, she uses discarded library books as her primary material to create paper-mâché objects like seed pods and trees.   This past weekend, Holly was one of 70 artists who opened their spaces to the public for Tacoma Art at Work studio tours.  Ruby Re-Usable and her husband, Alan Junkman, made the journey north to Tacoma, not only to visit Holly’s 2 car garage-cum-art studio (with a view of Commencement Bay!), but also to admire Ms. Senn’s Spaceworks installation on Broadway entitled Re-present (read Alec Clayton’s review of the installation in the Weekly Volcano HERE)  We even purchased a note card from Holly, with a quote by Isi Fiszman: “A conceptual collector is one who asks questions and does not just hoard.”  More Holly Senn HERE and HERE and HERE 

Barbara De Pirro: vortex plastica

Shelton Dumpster Diver Barbara De Pirro creates biomorphic spheres by crocheting repurposed plastic bags, then arranging these pods in intriguing settings that mimic nature in unsettling ways.  Her most recent installation, vortex plastica, opens October 9, 2010 at 912 Broadway in Tacoma, part of Spaceworks Tacoma’s creative use for vacant spaces.  Barbara is also a 2010 recipient of an Artist Trust GAP grant; read more about De Pirro’s recycled art HERE and HERE

Recycled Art in Asbury Park

Last month, our dumpster diving friend in New Jersey, Wanda Wastenot, took us on a tour of thrifts stores, rummage sales, art galleries and public art installations in the Asbury Park area. We bought a full-sized New Jersey state flag for $1.50 along with some other treasures, stopped into Art 629 Gallery to admire Bradley Hoffer’s work (we also loved his murals on the boardwalk and even got a tee shirt with one of his bird designs), purchased a piece by “k-so Stinky Cheese,” the prolific Asbury Park graffiti artist who had stuff up at Hold Fast, and otherwise had fun exploring this famous down-but-not out Jersey shore town.

Our favorite stop was the “piling field.” Wanda referred to it as the telephone pole nursery (Ruby thought it looked like a tree stump graveyard), but a local art aficionado filled us in about this site, explaining that artist Marah Fellicce created the colorful fabric and chicken wire wrappings around some of the pylons as part of the Sculptoure urban art installations. The pylons are pilings from a failed urban renewal project; the tiki faces stenciled on many of the pylons are the work of a street artist (not part of the official project, but the artist received a blessing from Marah to do it), and the stuff that has been piled on top of the pylons is placed there by various people who simply feel compelled to interact with the site. Again, Ruby was reminded of graveyards, the way we leave small rocks on the headstones in Jewish cemeteries or the decorated Gypsy graves or makeshift roadside memorials.

See more pics and info about this project HERE and more pics of art around Asbury Park HERE

Trash Art in Seattle

Dumpster Divers Evan Blackwell and Anne Baumgartner are the first 2 artists participating in the The Fremont Vacant Space Exhibition, an ongoing series aimed at utilizing vacant storefronts in Fremont for art installations in-between tenants:


Cabinet of Consumerosities by Evan Blackwell


Second Chance by Anne Baumgartner

(more of pics of the storefront windows HERE)

We did not get a chance to see Britta Johnson in action, but we did read about her artistic endeavors at the Seattle South Recycling and Disposal Station, where visitors were asked for small pieces of trash as they waited on line to unload.  Britta animated the pieces at a small mobile animation stand and then returned them to their owners in time to be thrown away.  The resulting animation can be viewed HERE