More Marita in March

Olympia Dumpster Divers blog was originally started in July 2006 as a way to document Ruby Re-Usable’s HERE TODAY temporary art installation, although lately it seems like all Marita Dingus all the time, but I am sure you don’t mind, because Marita is so inspiring in the fearless way she recombines a myriad of recycled materials to create figures that resonate with cultural, historical, political and environmental issues.  So this month, we  will be posting about Marita once again.

The Gathering by Marita Dingus at Traver Gallery

Marita Dingus’ show “The Gathering” is at Traver Gallery, March 2- April 1, 2017 (more pics HERE and HERE).

“In her mixed media figurative sculptures, Dingus, to communicate her narratives, uses almost exclusively, recovered and found material as the medium for her sculptures, creating harmonious results from shattered pieces and discarded materials.

In her exhibition, Marita Dingus commemorates how humans continue to call upon the spirit world for help and guidance in conducting their affairs, especially in times of elevated threat and uncertainty. This show is inspired by Marita’s love of the nkondi sculptures of the Kongo people, which were used as spiritual enforcers of conflict resolutions. The Gathering represents the duality of people seeking spiritual support outside themselves when in fact the spiritual strength comes from within. Gathering is also a process of passing along to the next generation the skill to draw upon our inner strengths.” via Traver Gallery

This past Saturday Marita invited me to hang out with her and Lynn Di Nino at their wearable art sale at Dan Fear’s art studio in Tacoma, so I brought along my Singer 201k hand crank sewing machine for Marita to try out — she has several electric Singer 201 sewing machines and was skeptical about hand cranks, but was so impressed by the smoothness of the crank, the well-designed case, the portability and the practicality of it (when the power goes out, as it tends to do here in our part of the Pacific Northwest, a hand crank &/or a treadle is a useful sewing machine to have) — she totally fell in love with it and wants one now!

ps Marita introduced me to the glue gun back in 1986; more recently she is one of the people who has sparked my passion for vintage sewing machines.

Marita test sews with Ruby's 201k hand crank sewing machine

Truth B Told art exhibit includes Marita Dingus

Ruby Re-Usable and Jane Junkton attended the opening of this show back in January, but there is still time to view the more than 160 paintings, sculpture, photography, mixed-media, video, and 3-dimensional installations by more than 50 Pacific Northwest artists of African descent in the ONYX Fine Arts Truth B Told art exhibit at the King Street Station gallery in Seattle — show runs until until February 18, 2017.

Marita Dingus with her piece, Gathering the Spirits, at Truth B Told ONYX Fine Arts Opening

There isn’t a whole lot of art from recycled materials in the exhibit, but we did get to see our friend and Recycle Art Goddess Marita Dingus‘ latest piece, Gathering the Spirits, an impressive trio of figures made mostly out of repurposed metal scraps that are embellished with various plastic pieces (including black plastic mesh scraps left over from our ill-fated McClure Middle School recycled art installation — more info about that HERE).  Marita first created a solitary figure similar to this trio for the Bellevue Art Museum’s 4th Biennial, Metalmorphosis, which focused on the medium of metal; we look forward to see more of these figures.  More info about Marita Dingus and Truth B Told exhibit HERE and HERE and HERE

Gathering the Spirits by Marita Dingus at ONYX Fine Arts exhibit Truth B Told 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Brave – Don’t Follow – Make Yourself Happy: Danny Mansmith

 

So I have fallen deeper down the rabbit-hole of vintage sewing machines: not only admiring the way these machines sew and were built to LAST (no planned obsolescence for these machines — there are antique & vintage sewing machines that are still being used to sew, 100 years later, AND you can still get parts for them), plus how cool they look, but also being intrigued by images created about vintage sewing machines.

Red Vintage Sewing Machine by Danny Mansmith
Red VSM by Danny Mansmith

While spending countless hours viewing photos and videos of vintage sewing machines, I came across the wonderful work of Danny Mansmith, who not only sews his own clothing, but uses a retro sewing machine to construct figures out of found objects and fabric scraps, creating joyful installations that make him happy. His motto is “Be Brave — Don’t Follow — Make Yourself Happy,” and I am sew so happy to have found him!

Danny Mansmith in his studio photo by Autumn Anglin
Danny Mansmith in his studio photo by Autumn Anglin

Danny Mansmith‘s work is part of the 35 Live: CoCA Member Show in Seattle; his work will be at CoCA PS35, opening reception 3/10/16.

More Danny Mansmith on Etsy and Flickr

Vintage Sewing Machine Doll by Danny Mansmith
Vintage Sewing Machine Doll by Danny Mansmith

 

 

 

Trashoween 2015

This is my latest self-portrait, made from discarded coat hanger wire, thrift store stuff, a popsicle stick, fabric scrap, paper bag, cardboard, and plaster gauze:

Ruby Re-Usable playing the ukulele

I started doing these Day of the Dead inspired skeletons in 2009, when my younger son was a student at the local public alternative high school and I volunteered to do a 4-day art workshop for the mini-unit session.  The students watched and discussed a video about Dia de los Muertos, and then had a choice as to who their skeleton would represent: a deceased ancestor, an archetype, a celebrity or historical figure, or, this being an art class, a self-portrait.  What I was surprised to discover was how the act of creating these figurines became a cathartic experience for some of the participants.

Avanti High School '09 Day of the Dead project
Avanti High School ’09 Day of the Dead project

For the past 5 years, I have been presenting a shorter version of this workshop at the local community college, the libraries, and some middle schools.  Instead of using coat hanger wire, cardboard tubes, and paint, we use chenille stems, card stock, and markers; fabric scraps and other junk are used for both versions. More pics on flickr HERE

Day of the Dead figurines by Ruby Re-Usable
Day of the Dead figurines by Ruby Re-Usable

A friend sent a pic of a plastic jug skeleton that is currently hanging up on his street.  While I admire skeletons made from plastic jugs, I have never actually made one.  My friend Marita has made them (they were shown at the now defunct Francine Seders Gallery), and one year she gave me one; it hangs in my house all year round.

plastic jug skeleton in tree
plastic jug skeleton 17th Av SE
plastic jug skeleton by Marita Dingus
plastic jug skeleton by Marita Dingus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While searching for instructions on how to make a plastic jug skeleton, I came across this skeleton made from plastic cutlery and other white plastic things by Elliott Mariess

Waste Skeleton by Elliott Mariess
Waste Skeleton by Elliott Mariess

Skeleton imagery reminds us of our own mortality.  And while our bodies will eventually decompose, plastics are like the undead — although it does degrade, plastic does not die or decompose.  So I consider the “Waste Skeleton” a scary reminder of how plastics are unhealthy for humans.  BOO!

See past ODD Trashoween posts HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing and Searching and Stuff

Sometimes I have a lot to share with the world: look at what I am doing, look at what my friends are doing, look at all the amazing stuff people all over the world are doing in the name of art from recycled materials! And then sometimes I am overwhelmed by all the stuff and question why I participate in creating more stuff, even if it is stuff made from stuff that is otherwise destined for the landfill. Yeah, that is how I have been feeling for awhile, the post-show let down that turns into an existential depression. My studio and my garage are filled with all this stuff, some of it potentially useful for some future project, but the struggle to actually start another project feels futile right now.  It is like I have lost my voice, and while searching realize there is nothing left to say.

Harvest Baby by Ruby Re-Usable. Babies are the ultimate symbol of hope and promise and reminder of why we need to make the world a better place.
Harvest Baby by Ruby Re-Usable. Babies are the ultimate symbol of hope and promise and reminder of why we need to work on making the world a better place.

But the change in seasons feels so refreshing, I always feel like fall is filled with promise. So I promise to keep on admiring all of the amazing folks who make art from recycled materials, seeking out new sources of inspiration while I continue to search and discover more ways to Make Art Not Waste!   love, etc Ruby

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

Last Chance to See Two Trashtastic Art Shows

There are two excellent group exhibits here in the Pacific Northwest that showcase art from recycled materials, and both are ending soon:

Saving the Environment: Sustainable Art exhibit at the Schack Art Center in Everett (April 23 – May 30, 2015) is an ambitious group show that spans a wide range of ways that artists work with recycled materials.

Ruby Re-Usable sitting next to her plastic bag and tape sculpture, Mother and Child/Plastic Is Not Healthy for Babies and Other Living Things
artist Ruby Re-Usable sitting next to her plastic bag and tape sculpture entitled “Mother and Child/Plastic Is Not Healthy for Babies and Other Living Things” in Saving the Environment: Sustainable Art at Schack Art Center

The list of participating artists includes lots of our favorite artist who work with recycled materials: Staci Adman, Sarah Allen, Dona Anderson, Jules Anslow, Jim Arrabito, Ross Palmer Beecher, Aline Bloch, Mary Ellen Bowers, Eric Brown, Susan Brendon, Jody Cain, Alana Coleman, Barbara De Pirro, Lynn DiNino, Marita Dingus, Amy Duncan, Claire Farabee, Roxy Gesler, Stuart Gullstrand, Julia Haack, Karen Hackenberg, Terra Holcomb, Katherine Holzknecht, Jan Hopkins, Susie Howell, Wendy Huhn, Peggy Hunt, Gay Jensen, Gale Johansen, Kristol Jones, Diane Kurzyna aka Ruby Re-Usable, Alice Larson, Stephen Lestat, Lucy Mae Martin, Danny Mangold, Lin McJunkin, Russ Morgan, Randy Morris, Thor Myhre, Keith Pace, Evan Peterson, Stan Price, Rainere Rainere, Lisa Rhoades, Joe Rossanno, Graham Schodda, Britni Jade Smith, Victoria & Ron Smith, Denise Snyder, Christine Stoll, Pat Tassoni, Joe Walker, Sylvia White, Laurie Williams, Heather Wilson, Tonnie Wolfe, Monica Ann Guerrero Yocom, and more

More pics HERE

Also check out this installation by Barbara De Pirro and Joe Walker at the show:

The other show that is happening right now is Cut & Bent: Group Exhibition at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, an awesome tin/metal art group show with Ross Palmer BeecherJenny FilliusNia MichaelsDeborah PaulKathy RossLoran Scruggs, and Nan Wonderly — ends June 7, 2015.

artist Jenny Fillius in Cut and Bent at BIMA
artist Jenny Fillius in Cut and Bent at BIMA

Jenny Fillius with BIMA’s curator Greg Robinson podcast

More pics HERE

Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center

We promised you pics from the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA, and we intend to keep our promise!

Nancy Judd of Recycle Runway with Ruby Re-Usable of Olympia Dumpster Divers
Nancy Judd with Ruby Re-Usable
Nancy is wearing her “Caution Dress,” made from caution tape, along with a “Throw Caution to the Wind” fascinator by Ruby Re-Usable; Ruby is wearing her “Once Is Not Enough” dress, which is made from a Mason County recycling sack & a thrift store frock, plus a plastic bag flower fascinator and pop top jewelry by Ruby.

As guest curator/co-producer, Ruby Re-Usable had her hands full and therefore does not have many photos of her own (but lots of learning experiences/stories she could tell …).  However, there were folks on hand to document this trashtastic event:

You can view every outfit from the show on Ruby’s Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show Pinterest board, which features a selection of the fabulous photos from Josh+Rosemary Photography.  There is also a marvelous set of pics by Annie Mulligan/Everett Herald

Lana Landfill, Ruby Re-Usable, Lova Landfill, and  Lena Landfill Lana is wearing "Go-go Organic," Lova is in "Plastic Bag Blues," and Lena is modeling "Six-pack Princess," all designed by Ruby
Lana Landfill, Ruby Re-Usable, Lova Landfill, and Lena Landfill
Lana is wearing “Go-go Organic,” Lova is in “Plastic Bag Blues,” and Lena is modeling “Six-pack Princess,” all designed by Ruby Re-Usable

Monica Today posted this video of Six-pack Princess, designed by Ruby Re-Usable in true recycle/reuse style: it is a revised version of the original Six-pack Princess that Trashie Cassie wore last year.  The dress was created out of discarded blue packaging paper from ACT Theater, six-pack rings from various friends and family, and unused/unwanted mylar cookie packaging that was originally donated to the Museum of Glass art studio.  The jewelry is made from cat food can pull rings and soda pop tops.  Watch Lena Landfill, our spokesmodel for a greener world, sashay down the runway:

More short vids from Monica Today of the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center HERE

Kudos to the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion designers: Kitty Center, Lynn Di Nino, Marita Dingus, Selena Eon of Rock Eon, Jane Grafton aka Tinker’s Dam, Monica Ann Guerrero Yocom aka Monica Today, Terra Holcomb, Susie Howell, Nancy Judd of Recycle Runway, Kristie Maxim aka Elle Poubelle, Rebecca Maxim aka Alotta DeTritus, Ruby Re-Usable, Loran Scruggs, Britni Jade Smith, and Robin Worley aka Rayona Visqueen.

Thank-you to all of the marvelous models: Robyn Lang, Leska Ratliff, Rosemary Jones, Marissa Motto, Megan Mullan, Jules Anslow, Russ Morgan, Stuart Gullstrand, Steve Jensen, Elinor Paulus, Lorelei Paulus, LisaLou Gogal, Heather Reiki, Allison Grable, Jana Rekosh, Kristen Humphries, Kahley Mae Estenson-Montez, Beth Dodrill, Abby Storwick, Joss van der Put, Raniere, and Christy Smith.  Thanks to Kallipso Rose for doing make-up, Steven Lough and Nancy Judd for being MCs, and to Jill King for doing flamenco dance during intermission.  And thank-you to the staff and volunteers of the Schack Art Center for hosting this event, especially gallery director Carie Collver!