Whitehorse recycling depot launches artist residency program

·2 min read
Janet Patterson is using 70 articles of clothing to dress up mannequins as part of Raven Recycling's new artist residency program that runs until the end of July. Patterson uses 70 articles of clothing because that's how many garments an average Canadian buys every year. (Michel Proulx/CBC - image credit)
Janet Patterson is using 70 articles of clothing to dress up mannequins as part of Raven Recycling's new artist residency program that runs until the end of July. Patterson uses 70 articles of clothing because that's how many garments an average Canadian buys every year. (Michel Proulx/CBC - image credit)

A new artist-in-residence program started in an unlikely place in Whitehorse this week.

Raven Recycling is hosting five different artists from now until the end of July, each working with different materials, in a new program it created called Diversions.

The intention is to change the way people think about waste by turning materials bound for the waste stream into art.

Whitehorse artist Janet Patterson — who uses natural, recycled and found objects to create other objects — is the first artist to take part.

She's taking clothes that people have dropped off and using it to dress up mannequins.

"Every mannequin has 70 articles of clothes," she said, adding that's the average number of garments a Canadian buys every year.

Patterson is at the depot Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until May 8, right beside the two red clothing bins.

She'll also be conducting a workshop on May 1 for anyone interested in creating art out of clothing.

'Is it necessary to have so much?'

The idea for the artist residency program began when Raven's executive director, Heather Ashthorn, noticed how relieved people were when they dropped off their recycling.

"[It was] like they unloaded all the chaos that they had come into their lives, into the bins, and had been like, OK, now I've done a good thing by recycling it." explained Megan MacLeod, communications coordinator for the recycling depot.

But dropping off recyclables at a depot is not the end of the story.

"Recycling is complicated, and there's more to the story than just dropping it off and walking away," said MacLeod.

nicolebauberger.com
nicolebauberger.com

She said the idea for the artist residency evolved in a conversation between Ashthorn and another Whitehorse artist, Nicole Bauberger, who suggested the program.

"It's to invite … other people's imaginations into how we deal with material," said Bauberger, "and also just [to] think more about the way they use materials in their lives."

Bauberger will take part in the program from July 4 to 15.

She said she thinks she'll use her residency at the depot to build kites out of plastic.

MacLeod said part of the goal of the program is to get "people to slow down and think a bit more about all the materials in their life.

"And is it necessary to have so much?"

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