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.