Trash Can Be Beautiful

In anticipation of an upcoming trip to the dump in the City with my Litquake buddies (I know – I really know how to have some fun, don’t I?), and after a nice visit with my writing teacher and friend, Cecile Moochnek at her gorgeous art gallery in Berkeley , I’ve had trash on my mind.  I  was thinking about how “trash” can be remade into something beautiful, transformed and given a whole new life.

I know this sounds a little weird, but when I visit thrift stores, I am often thinking to myself, “Someone might have almost thrown this away,” and I can’t help but wonder how many useful, beautiful objects end up in the landfill.  I am thinking about this alot today because one of Cecile’s artists currently on exhibit – Emily Payne-  takes old book covers, book spines and glue and turns them into beautiful works of art, as you will see by the photos below. And, then there’s Lucia Matzger’s beautiful coffee filter kimonos.  You would never know they are made of used coffee filters until you get up very close to them.  I guess it’s like that with trash.  Sometimes it takes a closer examination to see how they can be transformed into something beautiful.

Recently, Cecile and I went for lunch at Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland and a huge truck filled to the brim with trash was passing us on the street.  There was something strikingly beautiful about all of the colors woven together on that truck and the light of the day that made the trash almost seem pretty.

You’ve heard the cliche a million times about ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ right?  Well, I’m struck today with how very true that is.  How something as simple as a truck carrying every color of the rainbow can be like a movable art piece.  How an old book or some used coffee filters can take on a new life as works of art, and how objects discarded or donated to thrift stores can be displayed in someone’s home as a treasure.  Then, how the funds used to purchase these discarded objects can fund programs that are changing people’s lives.

What kind of treasures will we all see this week-end?  Consider looking in the most unusual of places to find something beautiful.  Let me know what you see.

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