We are all for buying less and having trash-free holidays, but Olympia Dumpster Divers also strongly believes in buying local and handmade, and supporting artists by buying their quality crafts. Thus, Duck the Malls was started, as a venue for artists to sell their work during the height of shopping season, and as a way to raise money for the the Olympia Film Society.
Now in its 13th year, the annual Duck the Malls is happening at the Capitol Theater on December 12, 11 am – 4 pm. An awesome craft sale, it has grown to over 50 local artists offering hand crafted wares, plus a particularly delicious bake sale — all of the artists also donate a homemade baked goodie. So support our local artists, our local independent theater, and our downtown, by coming on down to Duck the Malls! Many of your favorite Olympia Dumpster Divers will be there, including, of course, Ruby Re-Usable, along with Christine Malek, Pat Tassoni, Jennifer Kuhns, Nora Walsh, Shari Trnka, Will Eikleberry, and Mike Cummins (who designed this year’s poster), and others.
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:
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 theoriginal 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
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!
Matter Gallery is closing at the end of the month. Matter has been part of the recycle art scene since September 2009, featuring art work made from repurposed, upcycled, and/or sustainable materials created by artists up and down the west coast, many of them our friends from the Pacific Northwest.
It was a colorful, eclectic place, crammed full of interesting and unusual things, like Pat Tassoni‘s lamps “…culled from the consumer detritus of the American wasteland and reverse-engineered with alien technology;” the paintings and furniture made with wooden boats, sail remnants, and other odd stuff by George Kurzman; Micki Shampang-Voorhies‘ “kinky shoes” made from scrap metal and old tools; rustic reclaimed metal sculpture by Pattie Young; Loran Scruggs‘ bottle cap whistles and tin assemblages; Jennifer Kuhns’ mosaics; Stu Gullstrand‘s masks made from junk he finds along the railroad tracks and in dumpsters (really, I have taken walks with him and his dog in their SoDo neighborhood); plastic bag babies and soda pop top jewelry by Ruby Re-Usable; and Steven Suski’s paintings and assemblages.
“For me it was great having my art at Matter to validate artists who make art out of junk or recycled material. Matter’s art pushed my boundaries of what art can be made of and what can be art. Matter’s closing is a real loss of diversity for Olympia’s art community.” — artist Steven Suski, on the closing of Matter Gallery
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 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.
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
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.
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.
Second-hand Sid and Ruby Re-Usable finally figured out wherethese 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
We went up to Seattle the other week with our friend and idol, the Queen of the recycled art scene, Marita Dingus, to see her latest exhibit at the Northwest African American Museum. The exhibition, entitled Marita Dingus: At Home, includes the baskets, quilts, and dolls made from a myriad of recycled materials that were once formerly shown at Francine Seders Gallery, with photos by Spike Mafford of how these objects look in Marita’s home studio, where they are casually combined with her doll collection, outside in her goat pen, or being utilized to hold art supplies. The show is up until May 26, 2014. More Marita Dingus HEREand HERE and HERE, more pics of this show HERE
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:
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).
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:
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:
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
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:
We look forward to seeing this show and the art work in person!
Some of the artists in this exhibit are names you should be familiar with: Marita Dingus, Steve Jensen, and Ruby Re-Usable, along with Alfredo Arreguin, Matthew Dennison, Karen Hackenberg, Gaylen Hansen, Meg Holgate, Holly Lyman, Lynda Lowe, Ann Mallory, William Morris, Annie Marie Musselman, Catherine Eaton Skinner, Raven Skyriver, Rob Snyder, Phil Stoiber, Jason Walker, Melissa Weinman, and Suze Woolf. We are looking forward to meeting these artists/making new friends/seeing new ways to “Make Art Not Waste” and otherwise promote eco-art issues.
The Facebook invitation is HERE. Speaking of Facebook, have you “liked” Ruby Re-Usable yet? Find me on Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE
And if you are ever in Olympia (Washington, USA), stop by and say hey at Matter Gallery(my studio is upstairs)!