New Life for the Old Bag
When is a plastic bag a quilt, or a collage, or even a three dimensional sculpture? When Palmyra, Wisconsin mixed media artist, Donna Tronca, decides to fuse, cut, weave, paint, and stitch the very same bubble wrap and plastic we toss out with the trash.
She has created a body of work based on the principles of “eco art,” where each piece is constructed using reused and recycled materials in ways normally reserved for fabric. Her approach is to create something with which you may be familiar, from something you wouldn’t expect.
That fish sculpture with shimmering scales may actually be made from bubble wrap. Look closely at that colorful quilt wall hanging or that origami kimono, and under the surface you may discover a “recycle” icon and perhaps promotional statements from plastic shopping bags.
“I don’t believe plastic is going away,” Donna states, “I’ve decided to utilize the positive aspects of the material while doing my part to keep it out of the landfill.” So with a commitment to recycling, and a nod toward humor, her creations will bring a smile, as well as a curious second look.
Donna Tronca practices creative reuse, or upcycling, in the process of creating art. Tronca does this by transforming unwanted materials into new, unexpected creations of better quality and better environmental value.
While recycling, in it’s various forms, is necessary to sustain our planet’s resources, it is equally valid as a creative and innovative material, and subject matter in the visual arts. To do this involves looking at discarded materials in new and inventive ways.
The recycling of discarded materials and transforming it into art, is like finding treasure out of nowhere. It’s an opportunity to look at ordinary objects in new ways, and think about transforming these common materials into works of art.
The tradition of recycling (or upcycling) dates back to the nineteenth century, when American pioneers used recycled items instead of discarding them. Crazy quilts, pieced quilts, weathervanes made from scrap wood, and rag rugs are a treasured legacy of America’s tradition of recycling.
I’m enjoying bringing a little different take on that tradition.