So as this is an end-of-the-year post, we thought we would reflect on this past year while looking forward to the next. For me, Ruby Re-Usable, the thing that stands out the most is Trash Fashion. I am eagerly anticipating the Schack Art Center‘s Saving the Environment: Sustainable Art exhibit, which will be up April 23 – May 30; their Trash Fashion Show date is still TBA. Back in November, I had the honor of being the main presenter for the Schack Art Center’s teachers’ workshop, where I spoke about artists in Washington State who specialize in recycled materials. I also taught hands-on workshops on recycled art dolls and Trash Fashion; the latter was particularly successful in generating inspiration for everyone, including moi (one of the reasons I enjoy teaching is that I get some great ideas on how to reuse materials from my students, both young and old alike).
Here are some Trash Fashion links to check out for future reference: Trashion Fashion Show promotes environmental awareness through art in Harford, Ct, Washington, DC, and New York City. Trash-Fashions promotes recycling and reusing through art, design, performance, installation and education. Port Townsend Wearable Art is a yearly wearable art fundraiser and competition happening since 2011 in Port Townsend, WA. Inspired by the success of the Upcycle Style show, Tinkertopia presented an Upcycled Trash Fashion Show in the Old Post Office in Tacoma, WA. Haute Trash creates fashion out of trash for entertainment, education, and empowerment. Nancy Judd of Recycle Runway uses trash fashion to stimulate conversation, action, and education about sustainable living.
The only Trash Fashion show I participated in this past year was Upcycle Style, the show I co-organized with Ms Darcy Anderson back in September; it was a fabulous show and quite the learning experience for us both. Not only did I get to work with some talented designers and models while creating some new trashtastic ensembles, but I had some epiphanies as well (are you allowed to have more than one epiphany at a time?). I realized that there is a lot more that goes into producing a Trash Fashion show than I previously thought (notes to self: need a stage manager along with the usual crew, dedicate more time to working with models on their routines, and renewed respect to Rayona Visqueen of Haute Trash), AND I rediscovered a passion for making jewelry from recycled materials.
The jewelry happened because I needed to accessorize Princess Trashie’s plastic six-pack rings dress. In my design process, I prefer to use a minimal variety of stuff, keeping the materials related to the overall theme of the outfit. In this case, I needed a pop of color to offset all the icy silver mylar and pale white six-pack rings. Since I already had a little silver soda tab bag for Trashie to carry (a gift from a friend, we don’t know who made it), and since soda tabs were part of the cans that were previously in the six-pack rings, soda tabs were the perfect material to continue the motif. It helped that I had a collection of tabs from my sons: electric blue ones from the Blue Sky soda they drink, and silver ones from various sources, including their 5th grade teacher, who gave me his lifetime collection when he retired (why he was collecting them and where he got so many is a different story for a different time). A trip to the crafts store for jump rings and voila! A necklace, earrings, and a bracelet were created, and an Etsy shop was reborn.
I liked the jewelry that I made for Trashie so much, I made a set for myself, only I varied the design slightly. Soon I went searching for more tabs of different colors, discovering along the way that not only do they vary in color, but soda tabs also come in different shapes and sizes. I had purchased my first piece of soda tab jewelry from Maddie the Mad Rad Recycler, who was a middle schooler at the time. She is now in high school and no longer in the soda tab jewelry biz, so she gave me her collection of mostly energy drink tabs (along with some beer tabs from an uncle who worked in a bar). Did I mention that I have two cats who eat two cans of cat food a day? The pull tabs from those cans soon became incorporated into necklaces as well. My friends have rallied to save me their drink tabs, but I am always on the look out for more. You can see (and buy) my soda tab jewelry on RubyReUsable.etsy.com