June 15th at 7pm is the opening reception of the Arts of St. John's Divine Debris & Glorious Trash and I am very proud to be exhibiting along with other local ecoartists at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. I have been working with reclaimed materials for as long as I have been creating art and I am so happy that it is finally something that other artists are now willing to try.
Trash? I realize that some artists that use reclaimed materials sort through dumpsters, but with so much trash surrounding me I don't need to search for trash... the trash comes to me or is discarded along my path. Somehow all sorts of materials find me. The only exception is when I am working on a project where I need a commonly used material, like foil for example, I usually just ask a few friends to save some for me and they are happy to help me and the environment and kindly leave it on my front porch.
I live on a busy street and trash is constantly falling off trucks and landing in my front garden. Last summer when the city put in water pipes all down my street and left metal straps all over my garden, I didn't call the city and complain with the rest of my neighbors. I just quietly cleaned my yard and tried to think what I could use the metal straps for. After consulting with a really creative friend, my family used the metal with some reclaimed wood collected from old garage doors to build a treehouse for our children. We were able to build it without using nails that would damage the tree. The metal was wrapped around the wood against the tree in a corset like construction. And yes... I checked with the tree experts first. It will not hurt the tree and will be removed in five years to allow for growth.
It's not that I see trash and see beauty like some artists do. I see the trash and think: what can I do? How can I use that material differently? How can I make a tiny difference? Plus, I'm not exactly the type of person that takes the easy, straight, paved road. I try many times, but it just does't fit because I get distracted, bored or uncomfortable.
I hope you come out to the exhibit, especially Tuesday night for the opening. I will be there along with the other artists to share ideas and possibilities. For me, using reclaimed materials is not about trash at all. It's about sharing ideas of how to think in new ways to live better lives; how to help the environment and to think about how to be responsible for everything we use, touch and discard.