Upcycle + Recycle = Artcycle

This month the gallery is hosting our artists group show of Upcycled Green art. I chose to make my piece out of plastic grocery bags and an old, slightly warped but beautiful leather frame.

I had read online that you can fuse plastic bags together, but there were various methods and the first four times of fusing were unsuccessful. With the due date for the art hovering near, I finally seized upon a method that worked. There is a bit of time invested in cutting the bags and fusing them. I did several fused pieces of plastic for my painting.  I chose to sew the fused bags together to get a big enough background. For my subject matter I chose to paint a deer in an aspen forest. I cut the shape of the deer and aspens out of the plastic and sewed them to the background.  The plastic bags I used for the deer came out really textured which was perfect for the deer fur. It was also a bit warped so I cut a slit in the back and stuffed the deer with batting which gave it a 3 dimensional effect. This was certainly a ‘wing-it’ as you go piece.

In order for my acrylic paints to adhere to the plastic I sprayed the quilted surface with an acrylic primer to prevent the paint from peeling off in the future. It worked very well! The texture of the bags along with the sewed and stuffed shapes made for an interesting painting surface. I then glued the piece to masonite so I could insert it into the frame. Unfortunately I didn’t cover my desk top and the glue oozed out on two edges and adhered to my desk too! I carefully removed it, but have yet to figure out how to get the glue off the desk!

I put the painting in the frame. As I previously mentioned, the frame was slightly warped, so over the weekend I had tried to straighten it by putting a wet towel on the back of it and clamping it down to the desk (same poor, glued and abused desk). After the frame had absorbed some of the water, I let it dry for several days with the hope that it would un-warp itself. Unfortunately it didn’t, but I think it straightened a little. Nevertheless, it hung pretty decently considering, and was ready to take to the show. I titled it “UpCycled Forest”.

The opening of our ‘Green’ Show was Friday, June 19th during the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll. It is hanging until July 15th. We will be open on July 4th for the Sugarhouse 4th of July Art Festival as well as the Sugarhouse Art Walk on July 10th, 6-9 pm. Plenty of opportunity to see how our artists took the green challenge and made upcycled art!

Catherine Darling Hostetter is an artist, mother of 5 and grandmother of 3. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.