I am expecting a baby in about 7 weeks. As I’m making decisions like whether to use cloth or disposable diapers, I’ve been considering the impact of one person’s actions on our planet, which, multiplied by entire communities turn into global issues like overflowing landfills, fracking fields, suburban sprawl, deforestation, and polluted oceans. THIS is what I’m talking about.
I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate this message into my work as a teaching artist. The Creativity Inspiring Conservation program at the Seattle Aquarium was the perfect opportunity to teach students about the consequences of our collective actions on a global scale, and to link this message with visual art.
Starting with salvaged cardboard boxes, students chose a sea creature to create in a 3-d sculpture. We cut the cardboard into strips, and created an internal frame for our sculptural form. This was the hardest part of the project – to translate a 2-d sketch into a 3-d framework that would eventually evolve into a sea otter, a nautilus, a penguin, a sea turtle, an angler fish, etc.
The students covered the framework with thin cardboard and brown paper, up-cycled from food cartons and packing materials, with the brown paper side out so that it would be an easier surface to paint.
Choosing from a wide assortment of salvaged and re-purposed materials, students then had the opportunity to add textural and decorative elements to their work. For example, the tentacles of this nautilus are created from stripped plastic bags, bubble wrap, food wrappers, old fishing nets pulled from Puget Sound, etc.
The results are large, stunning representations of the amazing creatures that live in our oceans. These sculptures will be on display in the Seattle Aquarium galleries in the month of August, 2015. Needless to say, I’ve decided to go with reusable cloth diapers because I can’t in good conscience make the seals swim with more plastic, single-use diapers. The seals don’t have a choice. I do.