Ruby Re-Usable and the recycled art movement

Bag lady plastic bag art
“Bag Lady” by Diane Kurzyna – outside The RE Store in Seattle

Diane Kurzyna aka Ruby Re-Usable is one of our heroes. She has been an integral member of The RE Store’s annual Recycled Arts & Fashion Show for close to a decade. She has served for years as a jurist, promoter, networker, and a designer of pieces for the Trash Fashion Shows. Her network of artists and designers have brought some of the most inspiring, unconventional and thought-provoking art to the Show over the years.

One of those artists is Seattle artist Patti Shaw. Patti has been making and exhibiting her art quilts since 1999, but it was the Seattle RE Store’s 5th Annual Recycled Art Show that inspired her to create art from recycled materials, specifically the leftover votive candle wick tabs. Ruby Re-Usable recently visited Patti Shaw in her Ballard studio, where Patti relayed the following story about how she got started:

In December 2003 I had a show of icon imagery in the chapel of St. James Cathedral, Seattle. When taking down the show, I noticed a sacristan changing out the burned down votive candles, replacing them with new ones. When I saw him doing that I realized that each piece of aluminum represented someone’s prayer so I asked if he would mind saving them for me. A couple of months later, in 2004, they called and told me they had a box for me to pick up. I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I put them in the attic where they sat for a couple of years.

In 2006 I saw a call for entries for the Seattle RE Store’s Recycled Art Show. I thought of my recycled prayers in the attic, hauled them out and starting playing with them trying to come up with ideas on how to use them. I finished my piece and entered it in the RE Store’s juried show. It was accepted and turned out to be a great success for me. I later sold the piece and since then have made over 40 works using the recycled prayer wick tabs.

View examples of Patti’s work on her website.

Read Ruby’s blog posts about the 10th Annual Recycled Arts & Fashion Show

Seattle art gallery pieces
Seattle RE Store 10th Trash Fashion Show
Trash Fashion ‘11 Recap Part I
Trash Fashion ‘11 Recap Part II: Dance Party Postal
Trash Fashion ‘11 Recap Part III: Ruby Salutes the Red, White & Blue
Trash Fashion ‘11 Recap Part IV: A Marriage of Inconvenience

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