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Eco Arts Awards Semi-Finalists

The semi-finalists for the Eco Arts Award for "Repurposed Materials in Art and Design have been announced.  The category title was suggested by juror Lloyd Herman.


Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and DesignLloyd Herman is the author
of an early book and exhibition on re-purposed materials titled Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and Design.

The Eco-Arts entries were due in November. I entered this juried competition which is always a high risk, unpredictable and competitive proposition. AND.... am very pleased to learn that my work was selected as one of twenty semi-finalists. 

After spending some time looking at the list of finalists, there were many names I did not know -- even though I've been working in repurposed materials for over 26 years. Here are some of my favorites. 

Alysia Fischer – Suspended Resources Eco-Arts-mtp_alysia_fisher_scrimm_detail

This is an innovative use of recycled rubber by Alysia Fisher. The photos of her work capture the ethereal essence of her work. Essentially they are curtains or divider screens for interiors.  After looking up her work, I realized that a design blog had picked up her work (as I had seen it before. ) This is definitely a testament to the quality of her photos. Read more about her work based on her background as an archaeologist and anthropologist.

Larry Berger's chest (below) is another Eco Arts Awards semi-finalist. Titled, "United States Rulers" 


Cabinet dimensions are 42" ht. x 35"W x 13"D.

Larry Berger says, "Its name comes from a ruler that on one side lists all the U.S. Presidents. That ruler is mounted on the top of the door frame."  This cabinet was selected as a finalist (annouced January 8, 2014.)


After looking at more work on Larry Berger's website, I couldn't resist sharing another image of  his furniture - a vintage dresser (shown below) covered with rulers. I love the way he uses the rulers to further embellish the dresser in a decorative manner. 

33"ht. x 48"W x 20"D


Bonnie Cohen -- is an Eco Arts Award semi-finalist for this mosaic Pillar of Light. It is wonderful that humble materials can evoke such a spiritual feeling.


"Pillar of Light“ Ark Wall designed by Bonnie Cohen is a 25-foot glass mosaic that includes the Holy Ark doors."  This was annouced as a finalist January 8, 2014.)


Water is an important eco issue. In many places of the world, access to clean, affordable water is a serious problem.   


Deanna  Pindell - We All Share the Same Water is another Eco Awards semi-finalist. View images of her completed project designed to improve an existing stormwater runoff system. While the theme is inportant, the photos of the finished project seem ineffective at making an strong impression and the use of repurposed materials seems irrelevant.  


"Fission 999" is Boris Bally's entry as a semi-finalist in the Eco Arts Award Repurposed Materials in Art and Design." Constructed in Maryland on a parking structure, Bally uses his signature material - recycled traffic signs. This permanent installation was commissioned by Danac LLC (Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA) by Artists Circle Fine Arts for their new MRIS garage building. 


Designed by Boris Bally and HUMANUFACTURED® (hand-fabricated) by him and Project Manager Rob Boyd, assisted by Brandon Bruzzi over an eight week period.  "Fission 999" was completed October 21, 2013.  

The 999 pieces of tile flutter gently in the wind, occasionally making sounds as they gently touch the concrete cast walls of the structure's stair tower. Reaching approximately 44' above the ground, the piece is 14.5 feet wide x 28 feet high x 2.5 inches deep.

In his work with recycled gun parts, Boris Bally has a second entry as an Eco Arts Award semi-finalist with "Brave 4" using gun-triggers, gun-bolts and gun-barrels* (steel) and brass shells, mounted on stainless cord, 925 silver. The weapons were courtesy of Good4Guns Anti-violence Coalition, City of Pittsburgh, PA. (This necklace was selected as a finalist Janurary 8, 2014.) 


Boris  Bally complements technical skill with important content, and he really knows how to design meaning into every last detail (shown below in a different example).


To wrap up this post, this is my entry in the Eco Arts Awards, Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. It was announed as a finalist selection January 8, 2014.)Berman-Harriete-Pick-Up-Your-Pencils-Begin

This monument to the pencil as a creative tool is a metaphor for the enormous impact of standardized testings on educationThousands of used #2 pencils were sent to me from all over the world, and threaded together to fabricate this bell curve of pencils. 


With a thickness of one pencil, the ephemeral curtain hangs from the ceiling moving with the slightest breath of air – yet the room-size installation stimulates interaction and discussion. The involvement of students, teachers, artists and individuals (in contributions of pencils and labor to assemble) united their voices regarding the impact of standardized testing on education and the arts. 


Pencils are used to fill bubbles on standardized tests, yet are also artistic tools of creativity & problem solving allowing the freedom to make mistakes, erase, and try again. 


The repurposed pencils in the curtain and yardsticks at the bottom are symbolic for how standardized tests measure students, teachers, school and curriculum. But standardized tests only measure quantitative content and skills that can be answered via a multiple choice question. In contrast, the arts teach creativity and problem solving -- skills needed for the 21st century. Find more information about the five year fabrication process, installation, and de-installation on my website. 

Below is a list of semi-finalists in the Eco Arts Awards. The finalists were announced January 2014.  Enjoy doing your own research into the depth of repurposed materials.  If you have a favorite could you share some thoughts in the comments? 



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Harriete Estel Berman by ASK Harriete is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at