22 October 2012
Last Updated on 22 October 2012
Title: Blanket For A Baby Blue Whale
Material: Post consumer plastic Kroger grocery bags, two miles of black thread
I visit a mega-grocery, Kroger, more often than I probably should. Going to the grocery store has become an activity that I dread. Most all food there is processed, or soaked in chemicals, and wrapped in plastic. Several months ago as I watched plastic bag after plastic bag leave the store, I lost it. I didn't start throwing GMOs at people or rip plastic bags out of the hands of the baggers, it was worse. I lost my sense of hope.
While it may sound overly dramatic, I became deeply depressed for several days, thinking about plastic waste. Instead of wallowing I decided to be constructive. At the grocery store I started to take the heaps of unused plastic bags out of the trash (some people became upset with me) and place them in the recycling bins at the front of the store. I eventually felt compelled to take this unending source of material and recycle it in a different way. I filled my studio with trashed plastic grocery bags then did what came naturally to a savagely depressed earth hugger-- I began to destroy them with scissors. After hacking and slicing til I felt a little better, I realized that I couldn't destroy the plastic, or the problems that came with it. I actually didn't want to destroy anything, I wanted to fix it. That's when I began sewing all the tiny pieces together.
Quilting is a tradition with rich history, it is an art form that springs from necessity. I wanted this piece to touch on warmth and the act of nurturing, bringing to mind the beauty of a quilt while falling short due to the un-breathing, transparent nature of the material from which it is constructed.
The blanket has been constructed on a large scale because a baby blue whale is really big when it is born, sometimes measuring up to 25 feet. I don't intend to swim into the ocean with this blanket, meet and swaddle a baby blue whale. I made this blanket to begin a dialogue about the magnitude of our plastic waste problem.
Our oceans are literally filling with plastic (pun intended). If you aren't familiar with the five trash gyres in the ocean please check out: http://5gyres.org/what_is_the_problem#
While plastic pollution has become a permanent part of the Earth's history in the form of oceanic sediment layers, chemical leaching, and solid mass tons within landfills, I believe that we can limit the damage through our daily actions. Recycling helps, but is not the best option, as it takes a great deal of energy and money to truck and process materials. Our best bet is to limit our own plastic consumption. Every plastic fork, straw, bag, bottle etc. ends up somewhere.
I am changing my ways because I don't want to wrap our earth, our oceans or our babies in plastic. I hope that this piece will act as a reminder and inspiration for myself and others to be mindful of our consumption and waste.
Thank you for looking and reading!