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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The latest basket and exciting plans...


What most excites me about upcycling "waste" material into art is the moment of recognition. For example I love mixed media art dolls where people have cleverly repurposed household and found objects into decorative motifs. I am always intrigued to examine such figures or mixed media wall art very closely and spot the witty juxtapositions.

People look at my crocheted baskets and grok that they are former plastic shopping bags and that is what makes them smile and appreciate the point.
Now I am beginning what will be a series of larger scale (between 24-30 inches as a beginning) crocheted figures, made from post-consumer plastic shopping bag yarn and similar repurposed "waste" material. Each figure will be free standing with an internal armature and stuffed with - well I'm still deciding what the recycled stuffing material will be. I will add surface embellishment of found objects using plastic bag yarn for embroidery also.

The idea that fascinates me now, with these crocheted figures, is retaining the obvious identity of the raw material. My hope is that will be the factor that will transform my figures from merely pretty (like the Dream Stars) to becoming a commentary about the need to re-examine our single use of soft plastics that are both flimsy yet pervasive and eternal like bags.

Or equally dangerous to wildlife, the endless quantity of monofilament fishing line scraps in every color, that fishermen seem to just leave to blow into pelicans' roosts or foul the very waters that they are enjoing. I have been collecting the stuff every time we go for a walk near the stone breakwaters where rod fishermen fish for leisure, and plan to reuse it also in some way. It may take a while to accumulate enough (I can only hope), unlike the plastic bags which are easy to source - at least the white ones are.

So far I have completed a foot and leg. I need to scrounge about 4 black bags to do the other shoe, which begins the leg. But not to worry - I am planning a barefoot character too. I hope to have at least two completed for my upcoming artisan fair appearance.

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