by Cheryl Lohrmann, Director, Create Plenty
Following in the footsteps of the Names Project Aids Memorial Quilt, that continues to exhibit and accept submissions into its 3rd decade, we believe that the more people who participate in this community art project, the more demand there will be for alternatives that involve “reduce, reuse, recycle” and the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s addition “refuse” plastic.
We have an amazing line-up of local and international artists who are contributing artwork for our Square Affair benefit on November 4, 2011 from 6-9 PM at 100th Monkey Studios. Proceeds from artwork will benefit our initiatives to bring the International Plastic Quilt Project (IPQP)* to more schools in the Spring of 2012. Come and support our project! (If you cannot be there in person, works will be for sale online at www.createplenty.org beginning November 5, 2011.)
Artist Dianna Cohen is among the forty-plus artists who have signed on to donating wall-ready, decorative artwork. Dianna has been making art out of single-use plastic for over 25 years and has shown her work internationally. She is also co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition and recorded an excellent TED talk a year ago about her experience of thinking through the issue. Virginia Fleck, a prolific public artist in Austin, Texas has created an elaborate mandala (see image) using single-use Halloween
bags, and bags from, well you can probably guess where else. Also, word has it that L.A.’s Cheeming Boey, famous for his elaborately illustrated styrofoam cups, is very carefully wrapping one of them up for us to sell as part of our benefit.
We even have a copy of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story donated by author Susan Freinkel. It’s not romantic, but it is a story!
This is an also an international show. We just received a shipment of fourteen 12″ square canvases of acrylic and stitched-in single-use plastic from Mérida, Mexico, by a group of kindred spirits lead by Rey and Sergio Pech Cetz who have previously contributed some magical squares to the Quilt Project.
Every one of these artists has an inspiring portfolio, an adventurous spirit and comes from a variety of disciplines: fashion, filmmaking, jewelry-making, website design, sculpture, illustration. We did not make it mandatory for works to have single-use plastic in them, but many will and you’ll forget that some of the materials used were created to be in the landfill by now.
The Aids Quilt is now too big to display anywhere but along a 52 mile long stretch of highway in Nebraska. The Plastic Quilt has a long way to go to fill even a football field with 12 x 12 inch squares decorated with single-use plastic (that’s 48,000 squares and we’ve got about 400), but we are on our way with the help of some very, very good friends. We certainly have enough material to work with.
*The IPQP is a mechanism for raising awareness about the understated problem of plastic pollution. Anyone who wants to gauge their use of plastic can take a week, a month, a year, or the rest of their lives refusing plastic, and retaining that which turns out to be unavoidable for one reason or another. From that cleaned collection of retained plastic, a “quilt” square is crafted, then submitted to the Project to become a permanent part of the growing exhibit. We want to make this work more intentional by organizing more artists/teachers to bring the project into schools.