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Footprints in the Sand – Jane Pelton Andresen

June 1, 2024 - June 29, 2024

ArtWalk and Artist Reception: Saturday June 1, 4-7pm


I’m a fiber artist. I trained as a weaver, but I have now branched into many mediums.  My most recent work is a series of (mostly) wall hangings that incorporate beach trash.

I was walking along a beach in Florida a couple of years ago and I filled my pockets with bottle lids that I found in the sand. As I was dropping them into the recycling bin at the end of my walk I mused that there must be something interesting I could do with them. Then I had an image of them as fringe on a macramé wall hanging.  I began to save the bottle caps, and then I began to find other pieces of trash that I could imagine incorporating into wall hangings, and this series was born.

The environment is almost always on my mind – the magic of our ecosystems, the immense beauty and, also, the degradation of our natural world, our massive trash piles and our dwindling resources. I have an urge to create beautiful things, but I also want to honor the sacredness of our earth in a way that acknowledges the mess we’ve made. I like the dichotomy of materials that flies in the face of expectation. Clearly, tampon applicators and shot gun shells don’t belong on a beach, but one wouldn’t expect them to be in a wall hanging, either. From a distance they can just look like colorful objects in the piece, but up close they are ugly or broken or symbolize something lost, like a shoe or a toy shovel.

I also became fascinated with glass. Finding a sharp shard of glass on the beach is horrifying. I frequently find dangerous pieces of glass, and think about all the bare feet that could come to harm. I can’t possibly pick up all the broken glass, and it’s troubling that walking the beach or wading into the water could be dangerous. It is often very well camouflaged – brown or green like seaweed and kelp, blue like mussel shells, or clear. But the irony in the glass is that I have collected seaglass, the glass that has been worn smooth by the sand and surf, for years. Finding a soft, smooth piece of seaglass is like finding a tiny treasure. Now I often pick up a piece of glass and turn it over in my hand contemplating whether it was smooth enough to qualify as seaglass – a treasure – or just broken glass – trash.

Jane Pelton Andresen

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