Gleaning at the City Dump #101
Doodle Time at the Metro Transfer Station!
I got to have "playtime" at the dump yesterday! Someone drove in to off-load lots of trash...he had brought his best friend along, a beautiful one year old goldendoodle (cross between golden retriever and poodle). Now that I'm at the end of my "season" with this art grant, and having acquired all kinds of "boldness" skills, I went up to the guy, asking if I could take some photos and interact with his dog a bit. He was more than happy to let me get acquainted with "Millie." Having lost my own dog, Roxie, a standard schnauzer a few weeks ago, I once again have "dog" on my brain and have been researching the "doodle" breeds (labradoodle or goldendoodle), thinking that either one might be perfect for me.
Millie was alert, beautiful, and extremely playful. She had obviously been well socialized to be begging for a complete stranger (me) to come up to the window to give her some attention. In between all the petting and licking sessions at the pickup window, I got all my questions answered about the doodle personalities, grooming, growth, etc. This turned out to be one of those fun "dog days" at the dump! I will be checking out some of the local "doodle" breeders here in the Portland area !
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Gleaning at the City Dump #100
Wow...a hundred blogs about digging in the city dump! I hadn't expected that I'd have this much to say about my work at the dump for these past six months. I'm beginning to wind down from the "production" of any more "trash" pieces in my studio at this point. In fact, I'm creating a pdf file of all my completed glean work, along with photos, sizes, prices, etc, and sending it to Amy, the administrator of our program...all due by this coming Monday, so that tags can be made to hang with each piece at our show beginning on Sept. 14. I will, however, still make a "few" (very few) more visits to the Transfer Station to gather up any last minute kinds of treasures that I may be able to use down the road for more of my assemblage work.
And, speaking of treasures...old drawers from cabinets and desks make great boxes for my work. Most of the drawers that I find are often way too big for the kind of work I like to do...like these:
This was a much better assortment of drawers...much smaller, more workable for me. These almost look like the drawers that came out of those old library card catalog cabinets. These drawers are great finds!!
Gleaning at the City Dump #99
More miscellaneous treasure finds at the city dump:
Large white plastic covers (for ceiling lights?). I was sure that one of the other artists would want these, but they are still sitting in our work area.
I know this doesn't look like much at first glance...it's wood/plastic shelving...the kind that attaches quickly to a wall...something that some store might use for displaying merchandise. It would be a perfect find for the right person (maybe someone opening up a gallery, etc.), but I had no use for any of them.
I kept this block and tackle for one of my own projects...vintage wood and metal, somewhat rusted...cool piece!
Toys...and more toys. I usually dig through these kinds of piles, often finding something that I want to keep.
Exercise equipment! These are some kind of "pull up" tools...it's obvious that the rest of this equipment is missing. I left this in the work area for the other artists.
New, unopened packages of adult-sized diapers. I hauled these back to our work area, and ended up leaving them for one of the other artists. I think nobody has touched them yet. Incorporating diapers into a piece of art is not easy.
Baskets are everywhere...easy to find, but, unfortunately, none of us seem to want them for any of our projects.
Gleaning at the City Dump #98
With this newly finished "shrine," I wanted to create a simple visual story for this little boy from long ago, and a toy car...both items tossed away at the city dump not too long ago. I often do this with many of the vintage photos that I use in my pieces...giving "new life" to these unknowns. This simple piece is designed to hang on the wall, and will be one of many in our group show at Disjecta Gallery...opening night, Sept. 14 here in Portland.
Gleaning at the City Dump #97
Someone dropped off several pieces of art (acrylic paintings and encaustic) on homemade wooden canvasses. The art itself was of no interest to me, but the framed canvass panels, when turned over, became great little "boxes" that I'll be able to use for any number of projects.
This is what I ended up with when I turned them over...ready-made boxes!
Gleaning at the City Dump #96
Someone dropped off one of these old two-in-one TV's at the Transfer Station...stereo phonograph player with the TV in the middle (this one was sitting upside down when I photographed it). This brought back the memories of being a young kid and scurrying over to my aunt and uncle's house one evening to see their new color TV for the first time...they probably had the first one in town when "living color" first came out. We watched Bonanza that evening (the Cartwright family). Those first color models were really not all that good, needless to say, but as a kid, I was quite impressed. The whole screen was filled with a lof of different shades of green...vibrant green...enough to maybe burn your retinas if you weren't careful. I remember my uncle jumping up and down (there were no remotes yet), adjusting the color so that we might catch a glimpse of some real skin tones on those actors...that never happened. He never changed channels to see if something else might be better...there was only one channel to choose from. Those were such "simple" days.
Gleaning at the City Dump #95
I went to a gallery opening last night over on Mississippi Av. in Portland. Amy, the administrator of our glean program, was showing her latest "recycled" work...wall sculpture assemblages...beautiful creations, all containing a small magnifying lens which gives the viewer a closer (magnified) look at a small piece of natural detritus lying under it. Amy is meticulous with her detailed craftsmanship of each piece. It's been a pleasure being able to work with her on this gleaning art grant these last few months.
If you live in the area, you can see Amy's work through Sept. 23rd at Paxton Gate, 4204 N. Mississippi Av., Portland, OR 97217
I also stopped for a few minutes to watch (right next door to the gallery) a bit of the shooting of the TV program, "Portlandia."
Gleaning at the City Dump #94
While gleaning at the Metro Transfer Station yesterday, I ran into Amy, our glean program's administrator, and Mike Suri, who was one of last year's five artists that gleaned in the dump. They are both working on a commissioned piece for Metro (the regional government for Portland, OR). I was able to take a quick photo of the two of them while they were in the middle of digging for trashed metals to use for a new sculptural piece.
I've only met two of last year's five artists, and I'm eager to (hopefully) see all of them at our show in Sept. and compare experiences.
One of Mike's pieces from last year, using trash gleaned from the dump:
Metro is putting out an "artist's review" on their website of each artist in this year's program.
Jen's review was just published:
Meet the GLEAN Artists:
What do you get when you send five artists dressed in safety gear into a room for six months to sift through a steady stream of trash? The answer will be revealed at GLEAN, an environmental art exhibit at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center of Portland. The goal of the show, slated to run from Sept. 14 through 30, is to prompt people to think about how to create more and waste less.
Meet Jennifer LaMastra, a wearable art sculptor who believes that the entire process of collecting, altering, sculpting and wearing non-traditional materials is a practice of paying attention. An active participant in Portland’s popular Junk to Funk Fashion Show since 2006, LaMastra’s work has been exhibited in several group and solo shows, including a six-month billing for her wears at the Portland International Airport.
With a background in design and technical theater, as well as cosmetology and physical theater, LaMastra’s enthusiasm for scavenging through discards at Metro Central is palpable. Trying to balance her "forbidden love" for materials with a "massively ambitious to-do list," she works late into the night using a new Babylock sewing machine. LaMastra freely admits to "creative entanglements" with VHS tapes, bicycle tire tubes, window screening and rusted pages of an old dictionary. In her words, she is "rescuing these historic gems" and "honoring those that lived and have been forgotten." She is excited to share her new collection in September and warns, it is going to be "definitely over the top!"
GLEAN is a public, private, nonprofit partnership between Metro, the regional government that guides the region’s garbage and recycling system; Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities; and Cracked Pots, an environmental arts group that manages the program. Now in its second year, GLEAN takes its inspiration from Recology San Francisco’s renowned artist in residence program.
The artists, selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals, include Andrew Auble, Chandra Glaeseman, Greg Hanson, Jennifer LaMastra and Sarah Wolf Newlands. Reflecting the diversity of talent in the Portland region’s creative class, the group consists of instructors at area art schools, graduates of well-known universities and an art therapist. They are award winning professionals whose works have been in solo and group shows – locally and nationally.
Their work ranges from sculpture to mixed media assemblage to wearable art. They use modern and archaic forms, altering the commonplace into non-traditional and sometimes formal compositions.
The process of creating pieces and the transformation going on in the artists and their studios is compelling stuff. The artists have a blog and frequently muse about their adventures and experiences.
Gleaning at the City Dump #93
A few more treasures found while digging at the Metro Transfer Station:
I decided to leave the old leather boot in our work area. I thought it had potential in one of my boxes, but then I knew that I'd probably never get around to it. It's destined for the landfill.
We seem to find a continuous assortment of DVDs and music CDs, all of which seem to have little value to the five artists.
A vintage cheese (and nut) grinder, much like the one that my mother used to have. I kept this.
A heavy (five pound) belt with all these fake steel bullets. I brought this home with me and am going to keep the bullets for one of my pieces.
I saw someone throw these gold ornate frames (perfect condition) from the back of their pickup while off-loading in the bay. I scurried over to their area and grabbed them. I'm using both of them now for a project-in-progress. This was a nice find...it pays to have eagle eyes!
Gleaning at the City Dump #92
Sarah and I got to glean together again at the dump. We had another interesting day of finding some unusual kinds of things. The advantage of having another artist there and working together...we get to talk about our possible ideas and plans for the treasures that we are finding in the trash!
Sarah found an old (and disgustingly dirty) bath towel. I'm not sure how she's going to use it.
I found a box filled with this beautifully compressed raffia (excelsior). I thought it had great potential (for Sarah)...I talked her into taking it. I'm eager to see if she will have this piece in our group show on Sept. 14.
I also talked her into taking this old (new condition) electric typewriter. We both hated seeing this low tech relic go to the landfill.
I've brought home interesting old lightbulbs in the past, thinking that the would surely be useful in some of my work. I turned up another box of smaller bulbs, and ended up leaving them for someone else, although I don't think any of the other artists will want them either.