Used Goods Transformed Into Art Needs a Startup

BE2C2 Report – The threat to Mother Earth and other climate change concerns inspired folks at Washington’s recent Smithsonian Craft Show — one of the most prestigious events of its kind in America — to highlight and reward artists who are creating environmentally sustainable work.

Wearable art garments by Mary Jaeger. Reflects her years of study and work in Japan and other areas of Asia, South East Asia and Europe.

“When I look at these beautiful silks that I’ve acquired over the years of designing, I wanted to repurpose them into something that was truly beautiful, but completely different than the original product that I purchased them originally to construct,” said Jaeger.

She won an award for her stylish silks, which she makes by hand using leftover materials from bolts of fabric, and past projects. Those repurposed products include custom cut and hand-dyed cotton shirt dresses, accordion scarves, and coats and jackets with 3D textures and hand-dyed patterns.

In this year’s show, 120 crafters from across the country presented art in 12 different media, from basketry, leather and glass, to ceramics, wood and decorative fiber.

Twenty-one of them met the sustainability criteria and were eligible to compete for the award which included a cash prize of $1,000.

Collecting scraps of materials to add charming touches to “art” toys, which include many types of animal figures.

The award comes from Honoring Our Future, a nonprofit organization “that was launched to harness the power of art to educate and engage the public on climate change,” said its director, Fran Dubrowski.

Creating one-birdhouses and feeders using wood from old home woodwork and furniture.

“We’re trying to encourage the craft artist to really discuss sustainability with the visitors to their show, not just practice it at home,” she said. “They’re in constant contact with the public, and I think they can be wonderful ambassadors for climate education.”

Worldwide, creativity is worth US$2.3 trillion (and growing) as a sustainable economic activity and worth exploring, exploiting. Such activities as using used items to create, save, sell, exhibit, etc. would reduce disposal activities, thereby delaying the “dumping process”.

Using, boxes, cartons and personalizing the assemble with own unique accents.

Here are some examples of creativity being done in Pakistan- (used) walls as medium to paint, exhibit, create awareness, etc.

Painting walls in major cities of Pakistan

Renowned curator Dr. Arjumand Faisel of Gallery6 says, “we should bring such activities on the mainstream, institutionalize it and enable a supply chain.

Another example of using used item for creativity : A used canvas given by artist Bashir Mirza to a young painter decades back- for free, was transformed by into a painting worth quite a bit still.

Pakistan Cables announced in 2017 the launch of a coffee table book, ‘A Reel On Karachi – Art Installations in the City’. These reels (below) have been installed in over thirty five locations across schools, parks, hospitals and universities all over Karachi where artists have worked on site to engage the local community. Each unique work engages the community with activities designed around the work to sensitize them to art and the role it can play in projecting the dynamism of a society.

Given its sustainability, entrepreneurship potential and female and youth empowerment attributes, this micro activity can be a force multiplier- therefore needs a startup also even on digital platform.

(BE2C2   Report is a data journalism initiative of Irshad Salim Associates, a New Jersey, USA, based consulting firm in association with BE2C2 in Pakistan)