Friday, February 17, 2012

The Beauty in Single Use Plastics

One of the things I love most about working with reclaimed single-use plastic trash is that, in its own weird way, it’s beautiful.

That may sound nuts, but this stuff is all designed by someone to attract our attention. The bright colors, the fun patterns - all are intended to get our attention in a crowded store.

And I gotta say, they work.

I first started collecting plastic bottle caps because they couldn’t be recycled curbside, and they just looked like they ought to be good for something. And those bright dabs of color looked a lot like dots of paint . . . not surprising since modern acrylic paints are, well, plastic.

Next, I dove into plastic bags and food packaging – I had read an article about fusing plastics to make a kind of material, and I was excited to try it! Besides, there had to be something I could do with all of those frozen burrito wrappers my boyfriend was producing . . .

A lot of the fun for me has been figuring out ways to use these materials in a way that really brings out their beauty!

Thanks to a RACC Project Grant and Cheryl over at Create Plenty, I'll be headed into Trillium Charter High School on February 27th to share the beauty (and the dangers) of single-use plastics with two classes of Earth Sciences students.

We're still in the last phases of fundraising for the project, and you can find the plastic quilt pictured above, "Bird on a Wire" for sale here, at the Create Plenty website.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Using images from the Portland Art Museum guide . . . Love the interaction of the two nude figures.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Paperquilts: A Practice of ArtMaking

I've been so busy working on my book the last year that I haven't spent a lot of time in the studio just making. I'm beginning to move back into it - spending time in the mornings and at least one full day a week. Fiddling with materials.

I've been sorting through old collage papers and these are bits and scraps that ended up in the recycling bin, too small for my student collage bins.

I took a tiny paper punch, less than one inch square, and began punching those bits of papers , making hundreds of tiny squares. It felt like going through old clothes and rags, cutting out the bits that might be salvageable for a quilt.

And so I began piecing the bits of paper together . . .

Building a paper quilt. Those little scraps and bits become something more than just recycling, something interesting. I have no idea where this will end up, but I've been keeping the recycling bin nearby.