Tag Archive | Recycling

Eye On Design: Suit Made From Feed Sacks By Lawrence Scott

Suit Made From Feed Sacks
Photos By Gail

The making of dresses from feed sacks or flour bags began in the 19th century, but the idea is most closely associated with the1930s, when the Great Depression necessitated resourcefulness. Knowing that homemakers used the cotton sacks to make clothes and other household items, manufacturers began printing them with cheerful patterns.

Suit Made From Feed Sacks

In 1994, American Designer Lawrence Scott constructed this stylish suit from large pieces of old feed sacks. He chose to utilize traditional feed sacks rather than the fashionably printed, mid-century bags in order to call attention to their origin. Scott’s design exemplifies the increasing importance of recycling during the 1990s —  a notice that extended to fashion production.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Fashion Unraveled: Fashion & Textile, on View at the Museum at FIT Through November 17th, 2018

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Crochet Coral Reef, Toxic Seas at The Museum of Arts and Design

Forrest 2 Installation View
Coral Forest, Installation View (All Photos By Gail)

Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Crochet Coral Reef (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.

Forrest 1

With 2016 being the hottest year on record, living reefs everywhere are under stress. Into these arenas of color huge areas of whiteness now intrude; bleaching events signal that corals are sick and dying. In 2005, in response to devastation of the Great Barrier Reef in their native Australia, the Wertheims began to crochet a simulation of healthy and ailing reefs.

Green and Purple Detail
Detail from the Photo Above

Using the algorithmic codes of crochet, the sisters produce crenellated forms that are representations of hyperbolic geometry, which is also manifest in the undulating structures of corals, kelps, and other reef organisms. The Wertheims and their collaborators, a core group of worldwide Crochet Reefers, fabricate an ever-evolving artificial ecology.

CCR White
Coral Reef Crocheted in Part from Plastic Dry Cleaning Bags

Orange Red Black CCR
Coral Reef Crocheted in Part from Recycled Plastic Toys

Orange Detail
Detail From the Photo Above

This exhibition consists of three main “habitats.” A giant Coral Forest and a collection of miniature Pod Worlds represent the diversity of living corals through the varying textures, colors, and forms of crocheted yarn and beads. A Bleached Reef and a brand new Toxic Reef serve as invocations of dying corals, while The Midden—four years’ worth of the Wertheims’ own domestic plastic trash—constitutes a deeply personal response to the issue of plastic waste in the oceans, including human-made phenomena such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Branched Anemonie Garden
Branched Anemone Garden

Installation View
Toxic Reef and Bleached Reef, Installation View

Often called the Rainforests of the Sea, coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less that a tenth of one percent of the world’s ocean area, yet are home to at least a quarter of all marine species. Reefs are vulnerable to many threats, such as destructive fishing techniques, pollution and tourism, as well as the global effects of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels and the raising of livestock are two of the major contributors to an increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which ultimately leads to the acidifcation and warming of ocean waters.

Bleached Reef
Bleached Reef, Detail

When reefs are stressed, a phenomenon known as “Bleaching” may occur. Photosynthetic algae —  which live symbiotically within coral colonies — leave, thus depriving corals of both their color and a major food source. The Bleached Reef seen here is a crochet invocation of such ailing corals, reflected in the contrast between the still saturated red and pink areas and the soft white yearn of bleached portions.

Pod World Plastic Fantastic Too
Pod World — Plastic Fantastic Too

Pod World Beaded Baroque
Pod World — Beaded Baroque

Pod World Red and White
Pod World — Red and White

The Midden
The Midden

In 2006, Margaret and Christine Wertheim began to crochet household plastic into a Toxic Reef, which they have since developed into plastic and coral sculptures seen in the Coral Forest section this exhibit. The initial use of plastic, such as video and audio tape, tinsel and zip ties, in their artwork evolved into an awareness of the artists’ own plastic consumption. From 2007 to 2011 the Wereheim;s collected their domestic plastic trash, includign bottoles, take out containers, and disposable shopping bags.

The Midden Detail

The Midden, Detail

The Midden, seen suspended in a fishing net from the ceiling of the exhibit’s front gallery, is a record of the family’s personal waste, with a stunning visual realization of the disposability of contemporary consumption. The work was inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast area located in the northern Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, where millions of tons of plastic trash accumulates in a giant ocean gyre. Other such gyres dot the globe, ad these ghastly legacies human consumption are having detrimental effects on biological, ecological and economic systems.

CCR

Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas is an important exhibit that is appropriate for the entire family. Not only will you see many beautiful crocheted sculptures, but you will learn something, while having your eyes opened to serious ecological issues that require our involvement and action right now.

Crochet Coral Reef Signage

Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas By Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring will be on Exhibit Through January 22, 2017 at the Museum of Art and Design Located at 2 Columbus Cicle (59th Street at 8th Avenue) in NYC. This Exhibit represents a unique presentation of the Crochet Coral Reef that focuses on climate change and ocean health, is curated by Assistant Curator Samantha De Tillio for the Museum of Arts and Design.

Installation View

Tara Donovan’s Styrofoam Cup Cloud Installation

Tara Donovan Cloud
Photos By Gail

If you happen to be doing the tourist thing in the city of Boston, you absolutely cannot miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which, like The Met here in NYC, is massive, and has a little bit of everything that an art lover wants to see, all under one roof. It is really quite a remarkable place.

Favorite areas of the museum, for me, are the Contemporary Art galleries, which make amazing use of the space with several installations placed against the high vaulted ceilings. One such piece is Tara Donovan’s Untitled, (2003); a representation of a cumulus cloud formation, which she created solely from Styrofoam cups stuck together with hot glue.

Untitled Clouds

This piece is not only very beautiful, but it also encourages imaginative extrapolation as to how the Brooklyn-based artist chooses her materials. You can read more about that at This Link.

Pop Trash

Pop Trash
All Photos By Gail

This colorful cluster of discarded soda bottles awaits the arrival of the recycling truck at the curb along West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. My guess is that the labels were custom printed for a Fashion Week Event, perhaps. They look so lovely laying there, it seems almost a shame to throw them out. So, preserved here for posterity, I present your Pop Trash.

Pop Trash Detail

Pendant Lighting from Upcycled Plastic Soda Bottles

Recycled Plastic Bottle Pendent Lamps
All Photos By Gail

I found this innovative and gorgeous Pendant Lighting in the gallery / event space of Repoproom in the Chelsea Gallery District. It was my friend Anne who realized the globes are constructed from clusters from upcycled 2 Liter plastic Soda Bottles! What a great recycling idea!

Recycled Plastic Bottle Pendent Lamp Close Up
Globe Detail

I’m not sure how these lamps were made but I’d bet you could do a little Googling and find step-by-step DIY instructions for a similar project. Because, the Internets.

Recycled Plastic Bottle Lamps

David LaChapelle’s Land Scape at Paul Kasmin Gallery

David LaChapelle Refinery
Refinery By David LaChapelle (All Event Photos By Gail)

People reading this blog post right now likely fall into one of three categories. The first are folks who are fans of artist/photographer David LaChapelle’s extensive and highly impressive body of work. The second are those who only know his name  because LaChapelle is guilty of having photographed America’s most notoriously repellent “Famous for Being Famous” family, The Kardashians, for their 2013 Christmas Card. And the third group are those who are confusing him with African American comedian Dave Chapelle. Just being serious.

David LaChapelle has taken a break from photographing celebrities for his latest gallery show, Land Scape, for which we attended the opening reception last Friday at Paul Kasmin Gallery. It was quite a scene, absolutely packed wall-to-wall with fans and (not that many) famous people, which presented quite the challenge to get decent photos! Although the only mildly well-known attendees I could identify as I pardoned and excused my way through the throng were (ironically) celebrity photographer Derek Storm and artist Mark Ryden. However, this guy was there:

Viking Hair Guy

I have no idea who he is, but the fact that he sculpted his hair into Viking Helmet Horns made him worthy of being immortalized on digital image, some sources say he used the castor oil for hair growth. Kudos to you, Viking Horn Hair Guy!

But back to the art! Land Scape is made up of two series: Refineries and Gas Stations. The Oil Refineries are constructed as models using ordinary household items and consumer products and then captured in LaChapelle’s highly appealing, hyper-realist style. Photos of the Refineries with accompanying detail shots showing construction materials can be seen below.

Waterfront Refinery

Waterfront Refinery Can Detail
Rockstar Energy Drink Cans, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Egg Cartons

Refinery Egg Carton Detail
Egg Cartons and Drink Cups, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Measuring Cup

Refinery with Measuring Cup Detail
Measuring Cups and Cell Phones, Detail from Above Photo

That these gorgeous works are meant to encourage conversation about our consumer culture and the loss/ exploitation of our natural resources is, well, quite obvious.

The Gas Station series was shot on location in the Rainforests of Maui, where LaChapelle makes his home.

Shell Station
Shell Station

Chevron Station
Chevron Station

Blue Station
I love the colors on this one.

Each of these massive photos takes up a full wall in one of the gallery’s three rooms, so they really do have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

David LaChapelle’s Land Scape will be on Exhibit Through March 1st, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.