From Refuse to Reverence

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There are certain materials which have always appealed to me, and thankfully, some of them are upcycled or recycled. One of my very favorites is cardboard. Ever since the days when I would help my mom make theater sets out of cardboard, I have been fascinated with its texture and construction capabilities. It is stiff and needs to be cut in the exact shape you wish it to have, but at the same time it can be broken down into a more flexible and paper-like substance. It is likely that my fascination with cardboard comes from my fascination with paper, and is somehow connect to wood, which is ever so tentatively connected to my love of plants and growing things.

Is it possible that I love one thing and all other interests stem from that one fascination? The natural world is a most fascinating place for me. It is amazing to see a seed create a plant and that plant, in turn, create a fruit which can be consumed. If my materials can imitate any event in the natural world, I am grateful. As I sand the wood, the grain becomes apparent. As I work with a piece of cardboard, it becomes softer and more organic, but still has a memory of its life as a box. This memory creates an unpredictability when I work with it, an unexpected lack of motion that I collaborate with.

It is important that the creation of art does not destroy that which it depicts and upholds. If I paint a landscape, but use materials which are not sustainable, then I am doing a disservice to the very landscape I am depicting. Thankfully, trees and plants can be re-grown as long as it is done in a conscientious manner. I also like to use wood that has had another life as cabinets, drawers, or bookshelves.

Note: I also love Altoids tins. They are great for little paintings.

Do you like upcycled or recycled materials?

How do the materials you use influence what you create?

Why do you think you like the materials you work with?

What memories are linked to those materials?

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