Community Can, or Tiny Shiny

I’d like to make a wall piece out of materials from our communal lives—from the tin cans and soda cans we already recycle. It will be a textile of sharp tin; a rug made of glittering knives; a dazzling field of lures in which things we have cast away for decades find new life right where we use them, rather than overseas in vast factories. I have found that by evolving a transformative process with common materials, relationships change for the better—material I once ignored becomes a trusted friend, full of its own wisdom. My thoughts slow down, and I begin to pay attention. My worries about massively complex sociopolitical problems are eroded by the flow of the work. Working with these materials, I find that things get less abstract, and more… material.

In my mind, this piece is 6’ wide by 3’ tall, though it could certainly be bigger. I calculate a need for 576 “lures” per square foot, or 10,368 individually cut and manipulated tiny shinies to achieve this vision. At about 10 lures per tin can, that’s 1039 cans.  

With your help, we can turn 1039 snapshots of the global food system into fully recyclable art. We can harvest those 1039 bits of energy that would otherwise streak through our community, taking our energy with it. Make them sit with us while we slow ourselves down. Slow down Coke and Del Monte, and paying gentle attention, have a conversation about ourselves, our community, these 1039 cans, and our world. We can transmute the cans, our work, and our consciousness in this piece, and eventually it will burst with a new kind of SHINE.

I’m inviting you to participate in this work in one of four ways.

1) collect and process your cans! If the idea of turning your cans into art sounds fun, then:

– separate tin cans from soda cans

– wash each can thoroughly. No food waste or sticky soda residue.

– cut the top and bottom from the tin cans.

– bag them up and deliver them whenever you can; if I’m there, let’s visit! Come see what’s up in the studio!

2) interested in working with this material? Come on over to the studio! Cans and pliers and snips–it’s humble, and it’s slow, and it’s embodying.

3) know anyone who might be thrilled by a wall rug made of 1000 glittering silver lures? Let them know about the project. Give them my Instagram, Facebook and Format site, and help us connect.

4) come and see it when it’s done! I have a feeling it will be quite shiny and fluttery and light.

I’m inspired by the work of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui and the Japanese fiber artist Hayashi Takahiko.

Eventually, this piece will find a time to shine for the public, though I don’t yet know where. Know that however you support this process, I am grateful to you, and will credit you in my writing about it.

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