Artist Angela Pozzi was tired of the debris that washed up on the shores of the beaches near her Oregon home. Inspired by the variety and color of the trash, she created the Washed Ashore Project, a traveling art exhibition and educational piece. Creating quirky sculptures of animals and sea life made entirely from the debris, Pozzi seeks to educate the public on pollution, while appealing to their artistic side.
Combing the beach for debris, Pozzi, and her community drop the garbage at their headquarters at the Artula Institute for Arts and Environmental Education. The long process between garbage and art starts with intensive cleaning and soaking. Pozzi and the volunteers then sort the trash into piles- plastic and glass bottles of all shapes and sizes, six pack rings, gun cartridges, bags, string, scrap metal, and wires are just a few of the many items which will later become sculptures.
Once everything is sorted, Pozzi and her team get to work. Pozzi designs sculptures to represent the sea life that the very debris endangers. After cutting, twisting, weaving and securing, the team fashions sculptures of marine animals and their environment, adding only wire and fastening materials to the debris. Starfish are made from colored glass bottles. Large white plastic bottles are strung together on metal “ribs,”,and hung, looking much like Jonas’ whale rib cage. Giant iridescent jellyfish, with plastic bag bodies, hang with plastic bottle tentacles. Sea turtles are made from the very trash bags that endanger them.
Each animal sculpture is paired with a traditional wall label, but in addition to the artistic facts, Pozzi has added facts about the endangered animal and the debris that the sculpture is comprised of.
The ambitious project delights both children and adults, bringing awareness to pollution’s effect on marine life by creating an homage to these animals from the very cause of their danger.