waste not want not - the birds of kathyrn spence

AUG 21–DEC 12, 2010 KATHRYN SPENCE at Mills College ART GALLERY Oakland, CA

Untitled (Great Horned Owl) - pants, coats, shirts, beanie babies + stuffed animal fur, string, wire -  2006

Untitled (Barn Owl) - stuffed animals, coats, towels, wire, string + thread - 2006

Pigeons - street trash, wire, string, rubber bands + glue - 1997

They are beautifully and surprisingly crafted, transcending their ordinary materials. With bodies made from the leftover goods of a consumer society in overdrive. Like "the pigeons" of 1997 made from street trash, the owls too are made from post-consumer materials. Spence sourced all the fabric scraps from her own wardrobe and from clothing and stuffed animals from thrift stores. (Some of the owls are made from shredded Beanie Babies, which is the only good use I have ever heard of for these "collectible" toys.) Her commitment to use recycled materials stand along side her obvious passion for animals and the natural world. From the same interview as above, she has this to say about her consistent use of recycled materials:

Untitled (Snowy Owl) - stuffed animals, plastic bag, curtains, wire + thread -  2006

"A lot of the clothes were my clothes—coats or pants. I liked the ones that looked sort of natural—like herringbone for the back of the great horned owls. I started ripping up some of my clothes, whatever seemed like an owl to me. There is so much stuff; there's no reason to use new stuff. I feel like I'm helping in some kind of absurd way."
Untitled (Short Eared Owl) - stuffed animals, towel, coat, wire + thread - 2006