This is a follow-up story to our garbage reclamation/art project with Jennifer Mathis and From Here to Sargasso. The project started when Jennifer was inspired by an art installation on the west coast called The Washed Ashore Project, and she spearheaded a massive effort to clean the garbage collected during last year’s beach sweep. Metal forms were made by Sean Ahern, and groups of volunteers added bits of garbage to the sculptures. One of them is reminding visitors at Shem Creek park that everything they put into the waste stream can wind up in our waterways, and the other was just hung in the South Carolina Aquarium in an exhibit about marine debris. If you look closely at the sculpture, you’ll see that the entire surface of the skate is made from cast off water bottles. Look closer for shoes, toothbrushes, toys, lighters, etc.
Our whole family worked on this sculpture, from cleaning trash to blogging about it, to helping attach the pieces to the form by tiny wires. Here’s what I wrote in a blog post on the Sargasso website in November:
This project has had an impact on our whole family, and led to some lively family conversations. I have been riveted to a book about trash (and rubber ducks) in the oceans called Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author,Who Went in Search of them. My family has to listen to me read passages aloud to them on a regular basis. As I read more and more about the issues related to trash in the oceans, I become more conscious of the entire life cycle of everything we buy — especially in this grand season of buying.
It is no accident that the amazing surface of the skate sculpture is made with plastic water bottles and lids… water bottles comprise a large portion of the trash collected during beach sweep.
Ted and I have been enjoying our membership at the aquarium– if you haven’t been in a while, check it out. We have gone after school several times this month– we are often the only people at an exhibit, and there is great stuff to explore. We took this footage from my ipad last week (before the skate was installed). If you don’t see it below, click here for a youtube link.