Nothing Goes to Waste

January 29, 2022 — May 7, 2022
Main Gallery

Nothing Goes to Waste showcases a survey of artists who find exciting ways to reuse and repurpose materials, scraps, and castoffs through ingenuity. Highlighting works created from discarded materials like ceramic shards, cut paper, and marble remnants, the exhibition explores how salvaged material can inspire creativity and provoke curiosity about the impact various industrial and artistic processes have on the ecology of the planet.

In the face of stifling realities such as the pandemic, many artists have shifted their studio practices and enlisted community support, using reclaimed materials from their networks in meaningful ways. Prompted by recent attacks on the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service, paper artist Leigh Suggs developed her Postal Quilt series, made from thousands of security envelopes that she collected from individuals across the country. In conversation with the communal history of the medium of quilting, these folded and stitched paper compositions pay tribute to postal workers and the critical role they fill in American life.

In response to the increased production rate of single-use items, particularly following the onset of the pandemic, Calder Kamin creates colorful and entertaining creatures from recycled materials like plastic bags and cutlery. Inspired by nature’s adaptability, Kamin draws on the resourcefulness of the Earth’s biodiversity, calling upon individuals to curtail their consumption habits and make use of what they have.

While it is common knowledge that many industries yield a high volume of material waste, the amount of energy and resources expended in the production of art is less openly discussed. However, artists like ceramicist Jeff Forster are taking a closer look at the sustainability of their own practices. As an educator, Forster has developed an awareness of how much waste is produced in a single semester of his ceramic art classes.  In order to conserve resources in his own work, he collects and incorporates leftover clays, slips, and glazes into abstract sculptures. His experimental firings yield alluring fissures of color and texture that evoke the geologic origins of the multi-fired layers of his materials.

HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall comments, “Now, more than ever, we need to reevaluate how materials are collected and utilized in order to ensure the health and longevity of our planet. Nothing Goes to Waste celebrates the fun, generative, and restorative benefits of sustainability through craft practices, and we’re excited to showcase this group of artists, who contribute to the legacy of reuse in the history of craft.”

Nothing Goes to Waste is curated by HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall.


Image credits:

  1. Chase Travaille, “Shard Amphora No 4,” 2021. Shards sourced on site from the Archie Bray Foundation. 13 x 9 x 8 inches. Photo by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
  2. Calder Kamin, “Rubbish Rat (Templeton),” 2019. Wood, foam, wire, koozies, glass eyes, plastic toys, rubbish. Photo by Philip Rogers. Courtesy of the artist.
  3. Jeff Forster, “Glaze Tectonics—Fissures,” 2021. Ceramic and Glassell Studio glaze waste. 13.5 x 17 x 4.5 inches. Photo by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
  4. Leigh Suggs, “Postal Quilt (Black),” 2020. Folded security envelopes and book-binding thread. 36 x 36 inches. Photo by David Hunter Hale. Courtesy of the artist.
  5. Leigh Suggs making her “Postal Quilt” series, 2020. Folded security envelopes and book-binding thread. Photo by David Hunter Hale.
  6. Chase Travaille, “Shard Amphora No 1,” 2021. Shards sourced on site from the Archie Bray Foundation. 16 x 9 x 8 inches. Photo by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
  7. Calder Kamin, “Plastic Planet Stag,” 2018. Plastic bags, steel, foam, wood, glass eyes. Photo by Philip Rogers. Courtesy of the artist.
  8. Calder Kamin, Detail of “Plastic Planet Stag,” 2018. Plastic bags, steel, foam, wood, glass eyes. Photo by Philip Rogers. Courtesy of the artist.
  9. Chase Travaille, “Shard Amphora No 6,” 2021. Shards sourced on site from the Archie Bray Foundation. 21 x11 x 9.5 inches. Photo by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
  10. Leigh Suggs, Detail of “Postal Quilt (Black),” 2020. Folded security envelopes and book-binding thread. 36 x 36 inches. Photo by David Hunter Hale. Courtesy of the artist.