Monday, July 25, 2016

Great Masters

Any afternoon at the Louvre there are students with easels and paints learning to read the vocabulary of the palette and brushstrokes of the likes of Delacroix or Rembrandt. It's a time-honored tradition to copy the great masters.

One day as we meandered through the galleries at the MET we watched in amazement as artists painted in full view of the watchful eye of the critical public. Later that day at the MOMA we LOL when we imagined copying the precise lines of a classic Agnes Martin or replicating the energetic drips of an iconic Jackson Pollock.

When we were invited to exhibit our work in the SFMOMA Artist Windows we knew it would be the perfect place to present our "copies" of Jackson Pollock paintings. These three "paintings" were composed of snarls of rope and ghost netting that we unraveled skein by skein then arranged as if they were abstract expressionist gestures of pours and drips of paint. We discovered it is not as easy as it looks! Our compositions were photographed then enlarged and printed on to canvas. It was a thrill to watch people as they walked by, did a double-take, then exclaimed, "Hey, I didn't know the museum had that Pollock."

Since we know the educational value of copying (not plagiarizing) to gain a deeper understanding of the creative process we were honored when students at the Lakeside Art Studio in San Francisco used our beach plastic project as inspiration of their own work with plastic. For months they collected broken toys and household plastic. After sorting it by color, they fashioned it into both permanent and impermanent, individual and group artworks. They made wreathes, hearts and abstract arrangements and using the plastic as stamps they even made prints. From the looks of it, they learned their lessons and are well on their way to being Great Masters. 

Kudos to Michelle Adelsheim aka "Mrs. A", the Lakeside teaching team and the student artists for this photo essay of their remarkable work: HERE. 

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.