Kristin Anton: Plastic-free Thinker

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These are words from the Leave No Plastic Behind Artists, after the plastic-free challenge~more will be posted  here and they may also be read here. Come see the art on June 5, 6-8 p.m. at the RE:Vision Gallery at SCRAP, 2915 NE MLK in Portland, Oregon. There will be snacks, great art, a raffle of plastic-free action items and cutting edge conversation. 

“Oh, the places you’ll go.” I am amazed at the travel potential of plastic. It is incredible to think that a seemingly simple piece of plastic is manufactured someplace then transported to a location to be filled or wrapped around something that is then transferred to a purchase destination to be bought by someone and carried somewhere to be used, discarded, and picked up by the garbage truck and relocated to the dump. It could be picked up by a bird or drift down a stream. It may even make the long journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch thousands of miles away in the middle of the ocean. Plastic travel has a sickening romantic feel as I imagine the personified plastic bits jet setting around the globe. In a time of locavores and high gas prices, it is surprising that we don’t talk more about the mileage of our plastics. 

This piece also represents the plastic used by me in my commute. As a Portlander, I use public transit or bike when getting around but when I started working in Hillsboro, I found myself having to think ahead and pack lunches, brew my morning coffee, and remember to bring my Tupperware home. If I get derailed in my routine, I am fated to the convenience of plastic. My plastic has great adventures in my classroom, commuting in my car, or enjoying the view from underneath the driver’s seat. The process of saving my plastic heightened my own awareness of the little things like straws or Q-tips (which my roommate bought and it took me about a month to even register that they were plastic… and that I needed to save them: eew). I constructed this piece by ironing shredded strips of plastics from a variety of sources. I co-advise the environmental club at the High School I work at and told them about my No Plastic Challenge. They were inspired to save their stuff too so we all had a plastic craft day with fellow artist Dana Fenwick, which was very fun and inspiring. As a teacher, I intend to use this experience in my classroom to promote environmental stewardship and waste awareness. This challenge has also impacted my personal life because my diligence in waste reduction had faltered in temptation of convenience and I revitalized my passion to be the change I want to see in a more sustainable world. 

Come see the art through June 2009!

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