Trash and Treasures

Second chances at the Recycled Art Expo

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

If you’re a resident of Bellingham, chances are good you’re aware of your individual impact on Planet Earth’s environment and devote time each week separating paper, plastic and glass refuse for the purpose of recycling it—thus diverting it, at least temporarily, from the landfill. Good for you!

But a quick look at the topics that can be explored during this weekend’s annual Recycled Art & Resource Expo (RARE), which takes place April 4-5 at a variety of venues in downtown Bellingham, shows there’s a lot more that could be done with (at least some of) your trash.

For example, a workshop taking place Sat., April 5 at Dakota Art Store will focus on making “Handmade Paper from Plants & Reuse Fibers, Newsprint, and Tissue Paper.” There, instructor Rachel Simpson will teach participants how to craft homemade paper with a variety of reusable items, including newspaper, thread, plants and yarn (register in advance, and prepare to cough up $5 for a materials fee).

What to do with unwanted or unused fibers will also be highlighted at tours of the new Ragfinery on Forest Street. The nonprofit—which is part of ReUse Work’s “jobs from waste” training business—is touted as a “textile reuse center where artists, textile designers and crafters collaborate with low-income worker trainees to upcycle and repurpose donated clothes.” Ragfinery will hold its grand opening celebration the day before RARE gets going, on Thurs., April 3, and will also be open for tours from 10am-5pm Sat., April 5. Additionally, the 4,000-square-foot space will be the locale for a duo of two-hour workshops on Saturday focusing on how to create masks, costumes and percussion instruments from recycled materials for May’s Procession of the Species. Carol Oberton and Christian Smith from Start Here Community Arts will helm the gatherings, so you’ll be in good hands (or claws or flippers, depending on the costume).

To get a clearer picture of the vast options artists have for making trash into treasure, show up for an opening reception for the annual “Recycled Art Exhibit” Friday night at Allied Arts, or peruse the works of the nearly two dozen local artists who contributed pieces to the show throughout the day on Saturday. The Reuse Thrift Store at the gallery will also be open for business both those days, and will be offering a “Bag-It Sale,” where anything you can cram in to a small bag is $5 (medium bags are $10, and large bags are $15).

But that’s not all. There’ll be recycled art activities Friday and Saturday at the Family Interactive Gallery at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building, tours of that space’s sustainably built and maintained architecture Sunday afternoon, an exhibit at Creative Spaces on Cornwall Avenue, a presentation on “How Re-purpose Can Spark Small, Local Manufacturing” early on Friday at Allied Arts, a noontime “Re-Use, Re-Cycle, Re-Purpose Revue” featuring puppets at the iDiOM Theater Saturday, and, later that day, music by Millie & the Mentshn and Clearbrook Dixie Band.

At the end of the weekend, it’s likely you’ll have a clearer picture of what creative reuse looks like, and how you can be a part of diverting even more so-called trash from the dump. Does this mean you should stop recycling and keep each and every aluminum can and wine bottle for your creative pursuits? That’s up to you to decide.

SVCR-0672 QMT_770x150 CW
More Visual...
River Visions
When storytelling and ecology collide

The artists of the Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea create striking, evocative work, acclaimed by collectors and museums worldwide. In a pair of brilliant exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology of the University of British Columbia, the lyrical Sepik storytelling collides with a…

more »
Connected by climate

It’s been 35 years since La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art (MONA) first opened its doors to the public as a way to showcase the region’s most interesting and innovative artists.

When it comes to the future, that aforementioned number is equally important. As part of the venue’s annual…

more »
Time Travel
Operation Art Walk

We’d secured tickets for an 8:30pm showing of Blazing Saddles, and my date and I found ourselves with an hour-and-a-half to kill before the movie began.

When I suggested cramming as many Art Walk stops as we could into the limited time frame—starting from our house in the York…

more »
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard


Connected by climate


The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Love, Loss & What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bellingham Bay Marathon

7:30am|Gooseberry Point

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Veterans Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Starry Night Chamber Orchestra

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

I, Angus

4:00pm|Village Books

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

Deobrat Mishra


Culture Shock

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Standup Comedy Showcase

8:30pm|The Shakedown

CW BOB 2016 Andrew Subin
A gold medal standard


Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Yoga for Outdoor Fitness


Candidate Forum

6:30pm|PUD Building

Cooking with Sea Vegetables

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

The Happy Elf Auditions

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Swinomish 2016
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard


Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Happy Elf Auditions

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Making Miso

4:00pm|Skagit Valley Food Co-op

Bingo in Blaine

6:00pm|Blaine Senior Center

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Not If But When

6:00pm|Burlington Public Library

Wonton and Char Siu

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Roving Cocktail Party

6:30pm|Gretchen's Kitchen

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Eagle Presentation

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Blackfish Prophecy

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Beginning Square Dance

7:00pm|Ten Mile Grange

Monastery Talk

7:00pm|Bellingham Shambhala Meditation Center

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books CW BOB 2016 Swinomish 2016 Artifacts Wine Bar Andrew Subin Everybody’s Store Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Farmer’s Market