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Sustainability in the Stacks
This month we decided to take a look at the current issue of American Craft and explore its theme in the ACC Library's print and digital collections. The April/May issue of American Craft is all about sustainability, and a great way to create in a sustainable fashion is to reuse cast-offs and create new craft. In "Material World," Ann Savageau, who teaches a studio workshop in sustainable design at the University of California, Davis, tells of her collaboration with the campus waste reduction manager to work toward a goal of zero waste for UC Davis by 2020. The student-run Aggie ReStore offers everything from tile samples to small electronics. "Project Upcycle," also in the April/May issue, describes how the American Craft Council invited seven Twin Cities-area artists to convert discarded material from The Firm gym into stunning craft that will be on exhibition at the St. Paul ACC show this month.
We have several books and exhibition catalogs in the ACC Library that are in the same spirit of reusing to create. For the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe's exhibition "Recycled Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap," 12 essays and numerous pictures in the exhibition catalog celebrate the transformative genius of these artists who use using discarded and obsolete junk as raw materials, and the catalog also features the environments where they live and work. The essays offer a profile of folk recycling as a metaphor for multiculturalism in the late 20th century. The exhibition is also explored in the book it inspired: The Cast-Off Recast: Recycling and the Creative Transformation of Mass-Produced Objects.
Lloyd E. Herman, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, wrote Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and Design. It begins with early examples of found objects, progresses through more refined objects, and ends with the hope and promise of recycling. Herman also curated "Trash Formations East," hosted in 2005 by the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. He writes, “…all of the artists represented in this exhibition remind us that we each have an important mission on planet Earth. Buy less, and use it up. Buy products that are recyclable or that are already made of recycled materials. Reuse, repair, and recycle to thrift stores. The future depends on every one of us.”
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