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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

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Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: Cincinnati
Posts: 1
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My ecological project was inspired by an assignment completed sophomore year for my 3D and ceramics class. It was a broad assignment: to use items and transform them into a different piece. One girl made a key out keys. Another used moccasins and a wooden box to make a “shoe box”. I chose to sew plastic bags, collected over the years from stores, into a prom dress.
I laid out the top layer, which was in color, piece by piece so that allover visual effect would be balanced. I used all white bags for the bottom layer. I lined the dress with cloth recycled from an old sheet to make it more comfortable on the body. I painstakingly constructed the garment to be a wearable piece of art. It was a challenge to tape and sew the bags. Plastic is not a forgiving medium, so I had to be very careful about any cutting or stitches.
The piece was meant also as social commentary. To invoke these connotations, I titled it: The Material Girl and The Bag Lady. It spoke about the expenses revolving around prom or any formal dance. Dresses can cost hundreds of dollars, but mine, handmade, cost nothing. It was made from what many would consider trash, but through my use of the materials, they became useful and beautiful once more. The piece emphasized the importance of recycling. The world faces the depletion of natural resources to create products and the growing about of trash from these products. We are finding many new ways to recycle and to create products from recycled materials. My dress was a more literal play on what we should continue to move towards for the good of the environment.
It inspired my senior portfolio for AP ART, which uses clothing, made from recycled materials as a theme. I use remnant fabrics in addition to less traditional materials. I have found that these nontraditional materials have benefits that can make them preferable to cloth. For example, I created a ballet-inspired skirt and corset from packing material, which had a fairy-like floaty quality to it. It moves in a manner that almost mimics a dance.
I have played with the idea of merging organic materials, like cotton, with plastics. I have also toyed with nature references, like flowers, within the various works. I love the contrast they create. It alludes to the past of clothing, its association with natural fiber, but also brings it into the present and future: inorganic, recycled materials.
My project raised awareness about recycling because the plastic prom dress was displayed in and won awards at several local and statewide art competitions. It received an honorable mention at the regional Scholastics competition. It was chosen for an exhibition of high school students’ work at Xavier University and was selected for an honorable mention award there. Most notably, it was chosen as a top 300 piece for the 2008 Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition, and was displayed in Columbus, Ohio.
Throughout the project, my fondness for it grew and grew. I feel so inspired by the materials I have worked with. I still have so many pieces I want to create. I want to use bubble wrap, newspaper, and plastic tablecloths. I want to incorporate junk, like dolls heads and candy wrapper, things that would be thrown away, in a surprisingly lovely way. In a way it expresses my worldview. The world is still gorgeous, still worth saving. We can use the literal and metaphoric refuse to create something wonderful. I hope to use my project to help people understand that recycling begins with the individual choosing to use and reuse materials, to buy recycled goods.
There must be a market for the product. Because clothing can be such a commercial enterprise, my choice of making a dress hints at the markets available. As far as clothing and accessories go, many more are being made from recycled materials. There are belts and purses created from car seat belts. Kool-Aid containers are sewn together and sold as purses of varying sizes. Remnant fabric rags or old saris are used to create scarves, dolls’ clothes, and rugs. Plastic bottles can be recycled to create thread, which can be woven to create clothing.
My project can also work on the small scale because I can design, gather the materials, and hand-construct each piece. Such creations could be auctioned or displayed to gather money or raise awareness about the environment. This may not be a long-term solution, but could certainly be used as a stepping stone to solutions for a long term end to the trash crisis, pollution, and overuse of natural resources.
In my opinion, that is what the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative is all about. It inspires people of varying ages to make a change in their environment, which works in the short term, but inspires in the long term. It gives hopes and creates leaders and that deserves the utmost respect.
· Date: December 31, 2008 · Views: 4693 · File size: 27.3kb, 201.6kb · : 1500 x 1125 ·
Hours Volunteered: 75
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
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