Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Art of Trash - Is This Really Trash?

Taiko style drum by Bill Stroud - but it doesn't look like trash!
During my volunteer shift at the Art of Trash, many people commented that some of the art didn't look like it was made out of trash.  One woman even said she liked the drum a lot and wondered if it didn't win a prize because it wasn't made out of trash. Well, if it hadn't been made out of some kind of reclaimed materials, then it wouldn't have even been eligible to be in the show!  But her question made me wonder, what was it made of? I couldn't figure it out. Maybe used construction materials that would otherwise have gone to the landfill. 

Partial view of the taiko drum.

Indeed, some of the pieces are not junky looking, and are made of reclaimed or recycled materials and look really nice. I did get a chance to find out from Bill Stroud, the drum maker and here's what he wrote: 

naturally fallen california redwood cut in slats, angled and glued together
nigerian cowhides left over from covering chairs
used metal wire bent for holding the heads on
used climbing rope for stringing the drum
various paint buckets of paint 
casters from some old metal shelves
leather scraps
old shovel handle

various ends of glue bottles
scraps of wood for stand

left-over black electronic tape
a 65 year-old mind full of life experiences

the whole project took about 125 hours

Bill also wrote: "I am considering offering drum-making classes again where a person could pay around 1/2 price what I would charge for a completed drum of their choosing  so I try to make it affordable enough that even people with not a lot of money can have a great experience and a drum they can have for the rest of their lives....I have made over 500 drums in my life and have conducted around 250 drum-making classes where I led the people (ages 12-80's) through all the processes of drum-making and let them do the work themselves so it becomes, truely, their drum and an expression of their creative self, but at my age I am not able to physically work too hard so if I were to go in this direction the best thing for me would be to train some people in the techniques and let them run the classes."  Bill can be contacted via this website or the Art of Trash

Juror's Prize: Sublime Pie by Bob Flint

This was another piece that generated a lot of curiosity. What was the pie made from? It didn't look like trash. One visitor to the show speculated that the piece was made from recycled cardboard and produce crates. The artist's wife answered back: 

It is recycled office paper (gathered from various schools on Maui) with paper dyes on top of a metal mesh frame. The fork is made from recycled wood. 
Yes, it is hollow inside, in fact, it is quite light weight. Bob formed the pie completely in steel mesh (which is structurally very strong) and then covered it with the reconstituted paper (it is a HUGE step up from the process used in crafts). The fork is removable for easy transport. Bob also teaches ceramics at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao and can be reached through his website: Bob Flint ceramics

Trash art can take many forms. Some pieces looked trashy - the trash was clearly evident - and other pieces looked like they belonged in any "normal" art gallery. 


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