Trash Menagerie – Art from Recycled Material

When I am not collecting junk or making art with it, I am teaching about art from recycled materials (check out my Washington State teaching artist page HERE), so I found this 1000 + ideas about Recycled Art and this  Recycled Art Work lessons page worth checking out, especially this video:

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)

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

Recycled Art Dolls with Ruby Re-Usable


Sweet Wishes candy wrapper dolls by Ruby Re-Usable 

Ruby Re-Usable will be teaching a recycled art doll workshop at the Seattle RE Store this Saturday, May 21, from 1 pm – 3 pm.  More info HERE

Create recycled art dolls from common household junk that would otherwise end up in the recycling and/or trash bin.  Bring a clean old sock (holes okay), a clean bottle (16 oz – 67 oz, plastic or glass beverage), candy wrappers, fabric scraps, and any other small, clean, colorful pieces of junk that you have been saving, and discover how a low temperature glue gun combined with some imagination can turn trash into fun figurines.  Some junk, as well as all tools, will be provided. Participants will learn how to make 2 different kinds of dolls, as well as see examples of other kinds of recycled art dolls/figurative sculpture.


Yellow Plastic Trash Gyre Baby by Ruby Re-Usable

Can’t make it to Seattle?  See examples of Ruby’s recycled art dolls HERE and HERE and HERE


Ruby is a Doll bottle doll by Ruby Re-Usable

Recycled Art at Museum of Glass


Regina Hackett at Art To Go got the scoop (but why she titled her post Two Seattle Chandeliers when the artists in question are both from Tacoma makes me want to remind everyone everywhere that Seattle is NOT the only town in Washington State where art happens, but I digress), so Olympia Dumpster Divers went on a fact-finding mission to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA to visit our friend, Barbara De Pirro, who has been working with the public in the education studio as an artist-in-residence for the past two months.

Barbara’s project was part of MOG’s Science of Art Program, exploring light: its qualities and interactions on various materials and surfaces.  Since it is not feasible to have  drop-in hands-on glass art activities happening in the studio (there is the Hot Shop where one can watch the amazing process at a safe distance), the projects in the education studio utilize other media, such as recycled materials, which are readily available and economical, and ecological, too.

As Regina pointed out in her post, one can find similarities to  Dale Chihuly in De Pirro’s project.  Not only is she making decorative chandeliers, but her installation in the education studio has an underwater aquatic theme ala many of Chihuly’s pieces, including the beautiful Bridge of Glass ceiling.


See more pics of how Barbara De Pirro created art from everyday objects at the Museum of Glass HERE.  Make Art Not Waste!

Trashion Fashion Trend


Junk Mail Fan Dress by Nancy Judd

Santa Fe trashionista Nancy Judd creates dumpster couture as an environmental educational tool.  The Wall Street Journal reports that she is taking her show to Washington, DC, where Judd will debut new outfits made from recycled Obama campaign trash at the Green Inaugural Ball.  Read ‘Trashion’ Trend: Dumpster Couture Gets a Boost at Green Inaugural Ball  for information and inspiration.

MORE inaugural gowns from garbage at Great Green Goods

who’d a thunk that the WSJ would become my fav source for recycled art news?!  Shout out to our friend Robin Worley aka Rayona Visqueen, who has been doing the trash fashion thing since like 1988; go Robin, Nancy, and all you flashy, trashy gals!

Recycled Art Dolls for December


Ruby Re-Usable presented a special 3 part workshop at The Evergreen State College for the Imagining the Body program, where she worked with over 80 TESC students and their 4 professors to create Identity Dolls from Detritus.  These dolls are now on display at The Evergreen State College Library until the end of winter quarter.

Ruby Re-Usable loves recycled art and she loves dolls, so finding a flickr group dedicated to Recycled Art Dolls was a dream come true; check it out HERE


Swiss Miss by M.A Enriquez aka urbanwoodswalker

While we were in Seattle the other week, we caught up with Kim Groff-Harrington and made plans for a recycled art doll trade.  We also have promised to trade with Jessica Geiger for one of her amazing and sometimes disturbing dolls.


Kim Groff-Harrington with her recycled bottle cap and tin art doll

Another reminder that Marita Dingus’ recycled art dolls are awesome!  And here is an interesting educational doll link sent to us from Laura Sharp Wilson: We Are All the Same Inside