Finding beauty in the commonplace is my way of creating art.
The transformation of ordinary objects has been a lifelong passion. As a child growing up in the Detroit area I would imagine fairylands and castles in the night-shift lights of the factories. Finding beauty in the commonplace is my way of creating art. I have used security envelopes, canned food labels, found beach plastic, printed cardboard boxes, and fortunes from cookies.
The inspiration for my use of paper came while I was reading about pioneer women who crossed the country in covered wagons. Some of them created works of art in the form of quilts pieced from cotton rice bags, silk cigar bands, and printed flour sacks. I looked around my covered-wagon-shaped houseboat and wondered what I could use to pay homage to the women who had used “recycling” as an art form before it became a word. My food labels and security envelopes which were usually tossed, found new life in my quilt-like wall hangings.
My family always picked up debris when we spent time on the beaches of the Great Lakes. I began saving bits of colorful plastic for a collage. After years of keeping beach plastic from the shores in Michigan, Canada, Washington State, and California I realized I had material for dozens of collages. I decided to dedicate these works of art to bringing about awareness to the impact that plastic is having on our oceans.
During my 12 years in Seattle I was fortunate to share studio space with my daughter, Nicole Paisley Martensen, and a talented group of artists in Pioneer Square. Six large dumpsters behind our building were often overflowing with colorful cardboard from the retail shops. My repurposing instincts kicked into action and I began using the words and graphic images for a new kind of art.
I continue to make art following the advice from my favorite fortune cookie:
YOUR MIND IS FILLED WITH NEW IDEAS.
MAKE USE OF THEM.
Marcia Paisley Riwney 2019