Unconventional Materials: New Work 2023

I made some weird things this year. Inspired by classes at Sacramento City College in Electronics Repair and Reuse, Textiles and 3D CNC Design Manufacturing with Fusion360, but also a great course from Charity Ridpath on using unconventional materials I continued on a path of upcycling and mixing materials. I worked with single-use plastic as a fabric and stuffing material, junk mail, clean hospital waste, thrifted fabrics, decommissioned printers and toys. I revisited skills in sewing and jewelry and learned new skills in electronics and 3D design. Here are some of the projects that came to life.

The Helmet


The helmet is sewn of textile scraps foam packing material, and heat-pressed plastic bags, bubble wrap. Each 3-sided shape is filled with plastic waste. Clusters of the shapes in various sizes are sewn together and attached to a ribbon, then tied to a laundry basket. The basket was resized to be more narrow. There is a pillow in the top of the inverted basket that rests on the head and foam on the rim that rests on the shoulders.


Feeling anxiety about the most recent war in the middle east, climate change, and American politics, I wanted to make something for protection and to bring levity. The shape made of 2 curves and 2 points repeats in my work – I see it everywhere. It reminds me of the intersection or 2 concepts like in a Venn diagram.

Lens (geometry)

In 2-dimensional geometry, a lens is a convex region bounded by two circular arcs joined to each other at their endpoints. In order for this shape to be convex, both arcs must bow outwards (convex-convex). This shape can be formed as the intersection of two circular disks. It can also be formed as the union of two circular segments (regions between the chord of a circle and the circle itself), joined along a common chord.

– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Long Days, Short Weeks

When my kids were very young someone commented that this time is filled with “long days and short weeks.” Meaning you are exhausted at the end of each day but somehow the weeks fly by and suddenly your baby is a toddler and then a kid and now (for me) a teen and tween. Those days string together to form a mishmash of memories from all over the place.

This piece is constructed of cut circles from junk mail, artwork experiments, poster board from kids science projects, foam packing material, and heat-pressed bubble wrap strung onto medical wire from my husbands work as an interventional radiology tech.

Shake Machine

The Shake Machine is a nonsense machine. Gears and a motor from disassembled printers are repurposed into a complex machine that simply pokes a hanging sculpture of plastic and paper discs strung onto embroidery floss making the whole piece twitch and wiggle in a funny way.

The piece is just fun. A final project for a course in Electronics repair and reuse, I learned to make basic connections using a breadboard and more permanent electrical systems using soldering and spare parts.

Wearable Versions

Sky Banana

Comprised of fused bubble wrap appliquéd over sublimated image of bananas collaged over a cloudy blue sky, reverse appliquéd onto a frame of rip-stop nylon, stuffed with plastic waste.