Making something out of some (discarded) things
If you go
What: crackedpots' Reuse Art Show 20th anniversary, featuring artworks from around 90 artists
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10
Where: McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale
Sara Badiali describes the 20th anniversary of the Crackedpots Reuse Art Show as a unique opportunity that combines, shopping, art appreciation and environmental stewardship.
"You can shop for products that are environmentally friendly, support the arts and organizations that support artists and hold up the community," she says.
In short, the show at McMenamins Edgefield, which features around 90 artists creating a broad range of works from "reused, reclaimed and upcycled" materials, is truly one of a kind.
"What makes it special is it's the longest running arts show in Cascadia (Pacific Northwest region)," adds Badiali, who has organized the show for the past two years. "Twenty years of creating art from waste is impressive."
The free, two-day event takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, all around the grounds at Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale.
The show runs concurrently with Edgefield's annual garden plant sale from noon to 5 p.m. both days.
Creations at the Reuse show are handmade using at least 80% recycled materials. Each item includes a story tag explaining its evolution: A shovel morphs into garden sculpture; cedar fence boards become a patio chair; a tweed suit evolves into a stylish handbag.
"Imaginations run wild at this show, and the art displayed throughout the gardens is an inspiration to everyone who attends," says Jane Comerford, crackedpots board director. "It's a great way to spend a day with friends, drinking a beer or a glass of wine, while strolling through the gardens and looking at art, all while exciting your own creativity."
Inspired by leftover plastic containers from store-bought plants, Portland garden designer Tess Beistel and artist MaryLou Abeln founded the nonprofit crackedpots organization in 1998. Their goal? Inspire others through art to see the creative potential in trash.
The idea is that "too much stuff is being thrown away. That's how it started," Badiali says. "A dozen or so people made art that year, and it's turned into 90 artists who do this professionally."
Many participants were inspired by earlier Reuse shows and "quit their day jobs and became crackedpots artists," she says, creating a "good percentage of their household income" through selling their work.
Last year, Badiali notes, more than 20 tons of waste was turned into art and other products to be sold.
"The revenue goes back to the artists, back to the community and back to crackedpots," she says. "It's an excellent model and a great example of a circular economy."