It looks like another artist (glass artist) came into the bay to drop off these bits and pieces of colored glass. As with a number of things that I find (and can't use myself), I left these in our work area at the far end, thinking that one of the other four artists might have some use for this collection.
I have found several rolls of tickets, saving some of them, tossing others back into the trash. I don't really know how to use these effectively in my work.
This looks to be one of those dividers from IKEA. It pulls apart into sections. I like the individual "heavy vellum" divider pieces. I left a few for the other artists...took a few for myself.
Wow...I love this thing...a big old beautiful metal (beautifully rusted) sled made by some toy company in Wisconsin, obviously many years ago. I left it in our work area (actually I "hid" it behind some other stuff), and may (or may not) retrieve it for my own use. Some of these found objects are already "works of art" just as they are (at least in my eyes).
I found two of these things-display stands for door knobs, probably thrown away by some hardware store. I've removed the hardware, leaving the wooden stand with these nice holes. I haven't started to use them in any project yet.
A plastic container filled with old calligraphy pens. I do plan to use these, but not for calligraphy.
It's sometimes necessary to glean fast in the bay. The trash piles up quickly as it's off-loaded, thus having to be "compacted" often by this monster tractor. With all the vehicles and people moving through this facility at any one time, this "concert" has to be orchestrated carefully by the on-site workers, the spotters. There are hazards at every turn.
Trash at the Metro Transfer Station dump is separated as much as possible...lumber in one section of the bay, glass, metals, cardboard, etc. in other sections, all in an effort to prevent much of it from ending up in the land fill in eastern Oregon. Sometimes the customers who drive in to off-load their garbage will help with the separation process. Much of the trash has to be hand-separated by the "spotters" who work the bay area all day long. I always check these large metal separation bins, especially the paper bin, where I found some rolls of old architecture plans on vellum and regular white paper. These are some of the kinds of things that I like to use (along with paper schematic plans) for lining my assemblage boxes. The vellum may be a bit of a problem as it doesn't "hold glue" as well as regular paper, but I'm going to work with it a bit and see how I can use it. I probably got too excited about this find and brought too much home...I have enough to last for the next few (several) years.
I've completed a new assemblage-box piece with all materials (except for a few screws, wood glue and alcohol dye) gleaned from the Metro Transfer Station...the city dump here in Portland, OR. The box was constructed from wood, originally used in a platform bed as a support for the mattress. I "think" the rusted metal comes from an old grill that I found in hidden in the "metal section" of the bay...this section is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to find amazing metal treasures of all kinds. The foot pedal is one of three that I salvaged from the grand piano that was off-loaded a couple weeks ago. This piece is covered with glass...I love to "enshrine" my treasures in such a way. It's one of my favorite boxes, but it seems that the most recent piece that I've finished is almost always my "favorite."
Article taken from the Oregon Metro News:
May 22, 2012
Artists scavenge through region's trash, search for creative answers for September exhibition:
First, the good news: Unofficial and highly biased sources rate our region as having one of the most creative and diverse artist communities in the country.
The bad news? Portland-area residents are not very imaginative when it comes to their trash. According to the state Department of Environmental Quality, we still send more than 2.1 million tons of garbage and recyclables to landfills every year.
Is there a creative way to remedy this problem?
The answer, in a word, is GLEAN. The arts and environmental education program addresses the area's excessive waste generation by harnessing available artistic energy to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate. Administered by Cracked Pots, an environmental arts organization, GLEAN is a collaboration between Metro and Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities.
Five artists were selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals to participate in this year's program. The artists, all local residents, include Andrew Auble, Chandra Glaeseman, Greg Hanson, Jennifer LaMastra and Sarah Wolf Newlands. They will be paid a stipend to spend seven months gleaning materials discarded at the Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland. Each will create at least ten pieces of art, results of which will be on exhibition at Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center the last three weekends of September.
New this year, the artists are blogging about their experience as they dig through discards and conjure creative ways to reassemble them into works of art. They muse about objects they find ("Pianos everywhere … the third that's been uncovered …"), describe their work area ("it doesn't look like much, but it's safe") and unburden themselves from bearing witness to loads of useful items thrown out by others ("I fiercely want to rescue everything").
GLEAN is in its second year, having been launched in 2011 as the Pacific Northwest Art Program. The inspiration for the program comes from the renowned Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program. Since its founding more than 20 years ago, the San Francisco program has supported more than 100 professional and student artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has been the subject of national and international press. Each year, more than 5,000 children and adults visit art exhibitions and attend educational tours that enable artists to interact with the public while teaching important lessons about recycling and reuse.
During the 2011 Pacific Northwest Art Program, thousands of arts patrons, students and others visited the Metro Regional Center in Northeast Portland to view the exhibition. Attendees nominated their favorite piece by each of the five artists. The result was the People's Choice Awards. The same idea is planned for the 2012 show.
Hunting for art materials at the Metro Transfer Station (the city dump) is a lot like fishing! I didn't get to do a whole lot of it as a kid, but on those few times when we were out on some lake or river (even on ice...yes, ice fishing in the dead of winter!), I always felt that there was some element of LUCK in getting to pull in that coveted "big one."
There are big ones to be had at the dump, but it almost always involves being in the right place at the right time. Today was no exception. I now often try to "follow" (either on foot, or with my eyes) the trucks that make their way into the bay, watching carefully for the kinds of things that get quickly tossed. Today was also the second time that I quickly introduced myself to the folks who were off-loading lots of old comic books from their truck (I'm still a little shy about going up to people asking for their trash, but with practice, I'm getting a little more bold). I was particularly interested in the old "Archie" comic books (wrapped in cellophane, no less), published over forty years ago.
I love the pages of these comics...colorful and pulpy! I have big plans to incorporate these pages into some of my boxes. The big issue that I'm having (as I've had with some other things that I've gleaned), is that I really hate to cut these marvelous old comics apart.
There were a number of other comics in the mix. I may just have to take from some of these first...they are not quite as vintage.
By the way, I was never a big fan of "ice fishing" as a kid. I was always worried that our car would sink through the ice (as had actually happened to others)...not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon!
I gleaned today for three hours - late morning and early afternoon. This was the day of the "photo motherlode." I quickly got to know the folks in one of the trucks that drove into the bay to off-load their trash. I had noticed that they were tossing quite a pile of vintage photos, many of them dating back several decades. I quickly introduced myself as one of the five artists working on a gleaning art grant, etc. and asked if I could take the photos off their hands for use in some of my projects. They seemed glad to have me retrieve them from the piles of trash. This was the first bunch of photos that I found:
After having a better look once I got the boxes of photos back to my cart, these are just a few of the kinds of treasures that turned up:
This was truly one of those "motherlode" finds for me today. I've always enjoyed using old photos in my assemblage work in the past, wanting to create a new story for these "unknowns" in my own way. A couple of my "older" pieces using vintage photos:
Completed kinetic piece, more of a sculptural piece rather than a box. Yes, there's some movement here! I'm not a genius when it comes to creating movement with my work, but finding the right "stuff" to work with in the first place helps. The materials for this piece, as usual, all came from the city dump. Have a look:
The five of us are scheduled to be included in a video documenting our progress working with our Gleaning Art Grant (digging in the city dump for art materials) sometime this summer. In the meantime, you can have a quick look at last year's artists, their work at the Transfer Station, and some of their amazing art created from trash:
One of the interesting challenges that seems to be coming up since I've moved my search for assemblage-type art materials to the city dump...how to actually use some of the items that I'm finding. I found these three cases of new golf balls...about four dozen in all. I've never used golf balls in any of my projects in the past, but I'm determined to find a way to incorporate them into my boxes in some interesting way.