Art from trash

Two years ago I was lucky enough to go with Kramstable’s class on an excursion to, among other things, the Art from Trash Exhibition.

20170601 Art from Trash 01

It’s an annual event run by the Resource Work Cooperative at the Long Gallery in the Salamanca Arts Centre, which “encourages the reuse of discarded materials in the production of amazing visual art”. I didn’t go last year, but found out about this year’s exhibition in time to make sure I set aside a lunch hour to go and check it out.

20170601 Art from Trash 12 - Toolbox by Stcott Fletcher

Toolbox by Scott Fletcher, made from recycled tools

It was fascinating to see what people can turn stuff that might normally be thrown away into.

20170601 Art from Trash 02B - 20th Century Dolls by Pirjo Juhola

21st Century Dolls by Pirjo Juhola,made from rusted wire, electrical wire, rock and other discarded materials

20170601 Art from Trash 03 - Tennis Racket Ukulele 2 by Mark Lleonart

Tennis Racket Ukulele 2 by Mark Lleonart, made from wooden tennis rackets and Huon pine scraps

20170601 Art from Trash 04 - Three Bags Full by Irena Harrison, Liz Toohey, Bec Williams The Three Weavers

Three Bags Full by Irena Harrison, Liz Toohey and Bec Williams, made from single use plastic such as pet food and coffee bags, and remnant leather

I really loved these bags (there were three of them) and the way The Junk Weavers have used old scarves on the handles of this one.

There was a separate section for schools and some wonderful artwork by primary school students.

20170601 Art from Trash 10A - More Than A Rooster by Grade 2 Albuera Street Primary

More Than Just a Rooster by Grade 2 Albuera Street Primary School

This piece recognises 2017 as Year of the Rooster and was the result of the students integrating their studies of Chinese, sustainability, art, science, maths and visible wellbeing through the inquiry questions “what happens to our rubbish?”, “how can we reduce, reuse, recycle, or rethink our daily actions?” and “what materials make up our rubbish?” They asked further questions on the disposal and decomposition time of plastic and decided to collect their plastic waste and create a rooster.

20170601 Art from Trash 06 - Our School by Grade 5-6 Lenah Valley Primary

Our School, by Grade 5 and 6s, Lenah Valley Primary School, made from coloured pencils

20170601 Art from Trash 05A - Bitsabot by Grade 5-6B Albuera St Primary School

Bitsabot, the class robot of 5-6B at Albuera Street Primary school, made from bits and pieces from electronic devices and appliances. 

This is the most creative use of a vacuum cleaner brush I have ever seen!

20170601 Art from Trash 07C - All That We Share by Young Migrant Education Students Tas TAFE

All That We Share, by the Young Migrant Education Program TasTAFE students, made from recycled paper bags and other assorted recycled materials

20170601 Art from Trash 08D - Mirror of Maleficent by A TAste of Togetherness Mosaic Support Services

Mirror of Maleficent by A Taste of Togetherness Mosaic Support Services, made from a mirror and old toys (Creepy!)

20170601 Art from Trash 09 - Necklace by Jeka Kaat

Necklace by Jeka Kaat, made from washers, jumprings and clasps

Ever wonder what do do with old Christmas cards you feel bad about throwing out? Wonder no more.

20170601 Art from Trash 11 - Ghosts of Christmases Past by Jen Duhig

Ghosts of Christamases Past collage by Jen Duhig

If you get a chance to call into the Long Gallery before the exhibition closes on Sunday, it’s definitely worth a visit. There’s lots of very cool and interesting art on display, and creative re-use of materials that were probably destined for the rubbish heap.




Day 13: Another travelling song

Day 13: Another travelling song
Ashburton, New Zealand

Ashburton, New Zealand

I can now add “cafe that offers its customers sunglasses to block out the early morning sun” to the list of places I’ve been in New Zealand. This was the Kitchen Table, just up from our motel in Dunedin, and we had a fabulous breakfast and a couple of coffees there before setting off up the highway for the final leg of our trip.

I really wanted to stay in Dunedin. There’s so much more I want to see, places to explore and things to do. And the more we travelled up the highway the more I know I have to come back to this part of the country.

Our first stop was the Steampunk HQ in Oamaru, about an hour out of Dunedin. Very cool. The ultimate trash to treasure exhibit. I loved it.

I’d love to have been able to have spent more time in Oamaru as well, but we couldn’t, and our next stop was Timaru, for lunch.

We’d originally planned on staying in Timaru today on our way back to Christchurch, but we hadn’t been able to find any accommodation. It seems like a lovely town, and we wondered if it was to Christchurch what Batemans Bay is to Canberra because it’s a similar distance away.

We’d spoken about Teppanyaki with Kramstable a few days ago, and he thought it sounded really cool. Eagle-eyed restaurant spotter me saw a Japanese Teppanyaki bar while we were driving round the town, so we decided that would be a great idea for lunch. It was really good. Well spotted me!

About an hour up the road is Ashburton, where we’d managed to find a motel room for the night. On the way those apparition-like mountains reappeared totally out of the
blue. There must be few places on the South Island you can’t see them.

Going to Ashburton meant a longer drive than we’d wanted today, but on the plus side we’ll have more time in Christchurch tomorrow, the last day of our holiday. It’s hard to believe we’re this close to going home. We’ve seen so much and done so much, and missed so much!

We had dinner in the motel and are currently making sure we don’t have any excess beers to take home with us!

a day out with kids, trash and plastic

On Wednesday I went with Juniordwarf’s class on an excursion all about rubbish.

The other parents who had volunteered for this task joined the class and one of the older classes in the morning for a walk to Salamanca. Moving 50+ kids in a walking train is no easy feat, especially when you have to get them across major roads safely. It is, however, considerably easier than moving a group of 5 and 6 year olds. Trust me, I’ve done this too.

The classes split up when we got to Salamanca, and after a quick fruit break, we headed into the Art from Trash exhibition in the Long Gallery.

This was the last day of the exhibition, which I hadn’t realised or I’d have gone to have a look last week. Run by the Resource Work Cooperative, Art From Trash is “an annual community event that encourages the reuse of discarded materials in the production of visual art”. The Resource Work Cooperative, among other things, run the South Hobart Tip Shop.

The exhibition has been held each year since 1995 and its aim is to promote reuse and to get people thinking about the amount of stuff they throw away.


There were some fascinating exhibits. I was particularly drawn to the dress that included osso bucco bones. I love the fact that someone could look at bones and say, “hey that looks like lace,” and work out a way to use them as lace. I later found out that the artist, Diana Eaton, is a local Derwent Valley artist.

Fashion from Food

Fashion from Food

There were some really cool things in the exhibit. I loved the repurposed shoes. Juniordwarf wondered if they were like Cinderella’s glass slippers. I think they probably were.

Shoes and Vegetables

Shoes and Vegetables

The kids were given a task to draw something. Juniordwarf decided to draw the vegetable garden that one of the Hobart primary schools had created.

A couple of the kids chose to draw this piece called “A Waterless Garden” by Alan Culph, which I quite liked too, so I tried to draw it as well. I didn’t have much time, and I think they did a better job than I did. (In my defence, I was standing up when I did it and I didn’t have anything to rest my notebook on!)

A Waterless Garden by Alan Culph

A Waterless Garden by Alan Culph

After we’d finished at Art from Trash, we wandered over to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, to have a look at the Vanishing Point exhibition.

This exhibition is “an arts/science collaboration to raise awareness about the issues surrounding plastics pollution in the oceans and its ecological, biological and social impact”.

We met Dr Heidi Auman, who talked about the impact of plastic in the ocean and on the birds and animals that ingest it, and how it’s working its way up the food chain, as the larger animals eat the smaller animals that have eaten small plastic fragments. It’s heartbreaking to hear about how mother albatross will eat plastic items that look like the food they normally eat, feed it to their chicks who then fill up on plastic and die because they aren’t hungry and don’t eat.

And a lot of this plastic is single-use plastic that something’s packaged in and thrown away as soon as we open the packet. It doesn’t decompose, just breaks down (eventually) into smaller pieces of plastic so smaller animals will eat it.

The exhibition came about because there’s a lot of science on the effects of plastic, but it’s often hard to present a scientific message to the public that isn’t too overwhelming or complicated. The concept was to present the ideas through art that would get people’s attention. “By combining this skill of the artist with the knowledge of the scientist, it’s possible to engage viewers through visual beauty and simplicity, then lead them through a deeper story to raise awareness of the issue at hand.”

Plastic not fantastic

Plastic not fantastic

According to the exhibition website,  8 million items of litter enter the marine environment every day – and around 7 billion tonnes of plastic gets into the ocean every year. 7 billion tonnes! My mind can’t even begin to imagine that much stuff. It’s just too big a number. It is estimated that 3 times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans annually as the weight of fish caught. Horrific.

Heidi has  written a book, “Garbage Guts”, to help children to understand some of the issues and to encourage them to think about their use of plastic and the effects that it can have on our marine life. The class asked some interesting questions afterwards, ranging from how long it took her to write the book (about a year) to how long have plastics been a problem (it all started in the 1950s but has increased exponentially since then).

The exhibition is running at the Institute until mid-July.

I was talking about it later, and one of my school mum friends mentioned the Plastic-free July challenge,  where you attempt to eliminate your use of single-use plastic during July. Another challenge I found online was an ongoing challenge called the Plastic Trash Challenge, where you begin by behaving normally for the first week so that you become aware of how much plastic you actually buy, and then work on reducing that.

I think this is a fantastic idea, and I’m going to do it. I’ll enlist Juniordwarf to help as well. The first week will be interesting.

The final part of the excursion was an A-Z treasure hunt around Salamanca Square. I was assigned to be a bouncer on one of the laneways to make sure none of the kids escaped. According to the role call at the end of the morning, I was successful.

All in all it was a very rewarding day that I’m glad to have been able to be a part of.