Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lovin' the dots

We know how much you love polka dots so we thought you might like to see our "drought dots" cut from Astroturf salvaged from the soccer field at Marin Academy when they replaced their old fashioned plastic sports lawn for the new improved (still plastic) synthetic turf.

The contractors had tossed big rolls of the stuff into the dumpster. While driving Judith did a double take, came to a screeching halt, turned her car around and headed back. Not sure what we might do with this amazing find, nevertheless she filled her car to the brim.

There is much discussion about the efficacy of this turf and the possible detrimental health effects of the off-gassing of the plastic, even so we have LOL watching folks amused by our circular lawn and especially since it stayed bright green even during the drought.

For the kids the dots are perfect shoe putting-on islands and they have made a hop-scotch game of jumping from round to round.

With the green, the spotted pattern on the fawns doesn't camouflage like it does with brown leaves and dappled light, but mom doesn't mind. Here they are just out our front door — lovin' the dots.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

World Oceans Day

In celebration of World Oceans Day we are thrilled to be featured in TIME magazine along with such an eminent group of international artists. 

13 Artists Who Turned Ocean Trash Into Amazing Art

We continued the fun with a group from Rocky Mountain Nursery School in San Francisco who came out to help us sort through our pile of plastic. And help with a bit of test marketing for "Counting to Zero." They were keen about going for the count! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


We are always game for a trip to the beach and especially with friends like Doug Woodring and Kwok-zu Lim from Hong Kong. They are intrepid travelers who are keen for adventure and have keen eyes for plastic.

We had just descended the dune trail and were just five steps onto the flat of the beach when Judith saw a thin edge of a piece of white plastic. She pulled from the sand a mysterious eight-sided disc engraved with a Chinese character. Wonder what this mysterious glyph means?
Hey!!! maybe Kwok-Zu knows.

Yes, he explained, it is a piece from the ancient game of Xiangqi, Chinese chess and this piece represents the advisor to the King. So glad to have an expert advisor along.

It was a bonanza day for micro-plastics and nurdles. The beach was littered with what we have aptly named, "the confetti strew." We got a good start filling our gumball machine.

Imagine the giggles, the delight and surprise when a handful of brightly colored bits of beach plastic are dispensed  —  perfect for making a mosaic, adding to a collage or using as color swatches for interior decorating projects. Or like the birds and the fish, you can eat it up.

Watch Doug's Plethora Point- Kehoe Beach "Plasticized" 

Post-Traumatic parking ticket stress disorder. Yep, we've got it.
After years of finding SFMTA violation notices slipped under our windshield in SOMA in San Francisco we have a knee-jerk reaction. YIKES!!! They are still after us. They came all the way out to this remote stretch of Pierce Point Road just to give us a ticket.
Had we exceeded our time limit?  
Will we need to go to court to contest?

Always game for fun, prankster Doug Woodring found the paper washed up on the beach and tucked it under the windshield wiper before we got back to the car.

Upon closer inspection the date and time were washed away along with the cancer  causing BPA that coats this type of paper.

Ha! Ha! Doug- you gave us a fright as did the thought of that BPA now floating around in the ocean.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Thanks to the Internet we have connected with a cadre of planetary plastic people. Email is fine for cursory communications but it is a special occasion when we have the opportunity to enjoy face-to-face time with kindred spirits from afar. This week artist Jane Gillings and her agricultural scientist husband, Len came from Australia to visit us and make the trek to Kehoe Beach.

After blah-blah-blahing about all of the plastic we find on Kehoe Beach the anticipation of going to the beach is fraught. These people have come half way round the world to go to the source - not only to see, first hand, the material as found in situ but to experience, first hand, the source of our creative inspiration. Every time we take someone to the beach we worry the question— what if there is no plastic?  

Mind you there are many other reasons to go to the beach — on a warm and sunny day there is the glory of the wildflowers and the sight and sound of the ocean. And at Kehoe there are the layers of geological history and the swoop of nesting peregrine falcons.

When we travel the distance, hike the trail, come to the rise in the dune, look out across the sand and see not a spec of plastic. This is it? the looming fear realized — embarrassed about our boasting, maybe we really are washed up.

But as we walked the tideline, the plastic was there. WHEW! Jane and Len were astonished about the amount. Although there were not the great swales of debris like we find after the storms in February, there was certainly plenty. 

On a scale of 1-10 it was a 4 or maybe a 5.

By the time we had reached the cliff on the north end of the beach, in about an hour and a half, our bags were full. We were not disappointed. Happy to be able to show them a milk pull tab, a tampon applicator and a nurdle.

The funny thing (or should we say unfunny thing) about nurdles is that they are damn near invisible — look just like grains of sand. But, once you see them, they are surprisingly easy to see.

Back in the studio Jane set about to present her findings organized in knolling fashion. Knolling is defined as the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization. 

For guests coming and going, our jolly stanchion guy is at the ready to meet and greet.
Thanks to artists Chuck Wiley for crafting the head and Richard Lang for putting the lift in the torso.

And for us? Hi-ho we are always at the ready to go the beach and we are ready to knoll.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Punctuation Party

!!! Come dressed as your favorite punctuation mark !!!
!!! Sip on "Exclamation" cocktails, wine and brews !!!
!!! Belly up to the delicious Tacolicious bar !!!

and celebrate the the 20th Anniversary of San Francisco Center for the Book. 

Since book people know how to party it up and they do know their fonts and fun I knew that there were be many creative costumes in keeping with the punctuation theme. I knew had to come up with an appropriate beach plastic something to make my point be it a comma, question mark, exclamation point, apostrophe, ampersand, hyphen, period.

Period that's it. I will go as a period. Maybe a bit cliched to wear a necklace ring of tampon applicators and call it "Period." But the response was both puzzled and enthusiastic. 

Several women of my generation did not recognize the source of the materials for my necklace, thought it was intended to represent exclamation points or maybe a ring of bullets or bombs. When I explained  "period" there was a moments pause, then great sighs of relief as they expressed how grateful they were to be post -menopausal. 65 is definitely the new 50.

Back in my (and their) day the tampon was composed of compressed paper, cotton batting and cardboard. Now the tampon, for so-called ease of use and comfort of insertion, is encased in a bullet shaped hard shell plastic cover. Yet another example of how plastic has literally and figuratively inserted itself into our lives.

Younger women recognized the source immediately and were astonished to learn that this feminine hygiene product is washing up onto beaches everywhere. From Kehoe Beach over the years we have collected hundreds of applicators in an variety of styles and in array of "feminine" colors: pink, green, perlesecent. Wikipedia reports that the average woman uses approximately 11,400 tampons in her lifetime. Mama mia, that is a lot of plastic. 

My necklace, as punctuation, did make a point — about the problem of plastic pollution. Period.

Mary Austin, co-founder of SFCB asked Richard AKA The Poetry Jukebox to be an auction item for the fund- raising party. Richard is a crowd pleaser as he moves through the party offering poems, free for the asking, to encourage revelers to bid big $$$ for the chance to have the Jukebox at their own special event. In the old-fashioned Wurlitzer jukebox or as an iPod with greater memory, the PJB is a great way to spread the word.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Visions of underwater fantasy might not be the first thing you think of when you think Arizona and it might have been awhile since you have been to Mesa, so now until May 29 is the time to get to the i.d.e.a. Museum.

Underwater FantaSEA is an extravaganza of fun and facts about the importance of the ocean for the health of the planet. Along with serious statistics about how long plastic lasts in the ocean, mermaid's reading stories and swashbucklers telling tales, there have been demonstrations about how to gear up for a deep sea dive and our beach plastic prints and video have graced the exhibition hall.

i.d.e.a. may be a long way from the coast but their team of designers and curators collaborated with scientists and marine researchers to mount a timely exhibit for kids of all ages that they hope will inspire future ocean stewards through innovative educational programs and hands-on activities.

Already there have been some 23,0330 visitors, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Harmonic Convergence

Friday, April 22 is not exactly the "Harmonic Convergence" but it is day when planetary forces align and we will be celebrating both Earth Day 47 and Passover 5776.

On August 24, 1987 Judith had just completed hiking the Inca Trail arriving at Machu Picchu the morning of the Harmonic Convergence. 

She writes:
We had not hiked there in hopes of joining with the HC believers. On the contrary, the night before we had camped at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) so that we could descend into the sanctuary arriving at the sacred sun stone before the tourist buses arrived. Expecting a crowd of other intrepid hikers congregating to witness the great shift in the earths' energy, helping to facilitate the coming new age of world peace, to our amazement at sunrise there was nobody there. Nobody! So we celebrated our good fortune, rambling the grounds without hordes of eager tourists with cameras shutters clicking or the humming, chanting, drone of dancing and hugging convergers. The earth didn't make a monumental shift that day, but I certainly did. It might have been the altitude or maybe it was just the thrill (and exhaustion) at having arrived after the arduous terrain of the trail, either way I felt harmonically realigned, resonantly attuned.

On August 24, 1987 Richard was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon standing under a rock-warmed waterfall near Tapeats Creek having a nice wash-up after days of travel down river. 

He writes:
It was a spur of the moment thing, this river trip. A friend had called the evening before saying he had a spot on his little boat if I wanted to come along. A private trip in 12 foot boats. Not the big 40 foot baloney boats as we came to disdainfully call them. Humans are so hierarchical given half the chance. What y'all should know is that I had successfully traversed a lot of 60's style new age-y territory developing a wicked backhand with the skeptic sword, able to slice through any hocus pocus-y clap-trap. Working as a studio artist provided a more than ample touch with the mystic. As I was out buying supplies for my raft trip down the canyon, I had to jostle my way through a crowd thronged with finger cymbal, incense wafting, dreamy-eyed purple clad (mostly) new agers lining up to shop at the new age book store, Paper Ships. "What's going on?" I ask. The woman in diaphanous white says, "It's the Harmonic Convergence. Those who are leaders of the new age will be led as if by magic to power spots around the planet." "What's a power spot?" I ask. "OooH, my," speaking as if to a two year old—impossibly  dense—"Places like Mt Shasta, Haleakala, Machu Picchu, Mt Fuji, the bottom of the Grand Canyon. "Wow," I exclaim, "I'll have to stop calling it the Moronic Divergence. I'm in, baby."

These days, instead of waiting for another Harmonic Convergence, we have been congregating with friends to usher in our own new era. We bring here to the fore the important accomplishments of our beloved colleagues:

Friday is the last day to see the exhibit Out of Place: Creativity meets Detritus of Land + Sea featuring the work of Janis Selby Jones at the China Brotsky Gallery at the Tides Thoreau Center in San Francisco.  Her stunning photographs juxtaposing plastic debris against the horizon line of the Pacific Ocean and her playful re-imaginings of refuse into objects of interest and beauty are not to be missed. 

Bicyclist extraordinare Sarah Bellum completed her inspiring fifty day, 1,192 mile, zero-waste bicycle journey from San Luis Obispo to Portland where she has arrived and is now establishing a home in a beautiful spot where she will create the next chapter of her adventure story.

Doug Woodring's, Global Alert hit the big time in Times Square, NYC this month. His app will allow people to track trash hotspots anywhere in the world’s waters or coastlines. 

Go Doug!!!!

Andrew Mellen
, professional organizer, offers more than just a way to get organized, he offers a philosophy of life with the byline: 
more love, less stuff.  He has helped us to get rid of clutter giving us space for more plants and more time in the garden.

For Passover we will be drinking wine and eating bitter herbs (and Richard's Grandma Ida's famous recipe for chopped liver) with our neighbors who share our love of gardening; who have sparked Richard to propose recording our conversations creating an over the fence school of manure digging and practical wisdom.

Richard writes:
It wasn't even dawning, it was the midnight before the dawning of the age of Aquarius. In college, regular classroom school, not studio art,  I took a class in comparative religion. Huston Smith was visiting professor. Cool that he had written the text book: World's Great Religions. Course syllabus included The Sacred and the Profane—Marcia Eliade—how we create the "Dancing Ground"—the place where we express our relationship to a spiritual sense of the world. There was the, just released, Purity and Danger,  by Mary Douglas; what is allowed in the temple and what is kept out. The nature of pollution in the largest sense. It became a primer for the nascent eco movement. As explications of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish practices unfolded, it was the Jains who really got to me, the sweepers walking in front of practitioners lest they step on an ant. Fallen fruit was the only allowed food. A strong kind of devotion. But finally it was the balance of the Tao—that everything is contained in everything else, relaxed and easy, that made me convert (as if you could convert to something like the Tao—(as a religion, it's the original "Is you is? or is you ain't? —religion— And even if you ain't, you is.").