You won’t believe what a little imagination can do with our trash and waste… These art sculptures from Washed Ashore are absolutely incredible.
It was a beautiful, sunny day in Bandon, OR, and the town was alive with people headed to the beach and back through town to mosey through the charming shops. We were having a touristy morning ourselves, taking in the sights, when we stumbled upon this giant fish.
Being suckers for all thing oversized and cheesy, we had to check it out. What amazed us, however, wasn’t it’s size… It was the materials used in its construction.
Henry the Fish (of course he has a name) is basically made from our trash. To quote his placard:
Beer cans, water bottles, beach toys, plastic bags, and food wrappers all harm fish and sea life when left behind on the beach. Litter from streets blow into rivers and seas every day and becomes a toxic meal for fish as they search unknowingly for food. Soda cans and broken glass become sharp and dangerous to both sea creatures and humans.
Henry is made from debris that has landed on our beaches from near and far. Plastic particles in the ocean last forever and cans take up to 250 years to degrade.
Along with the placard was also a sign pointing toward the WashedAshore.org exhibit and workshop in Old Town Bandon. Well, Henry, you talked us into checking it out, and we’re so glad we did.
Inside a simple exhibit hall right off the main drag, we found some of the most incredible sea-themed art we’ve ever seen- and it’s all made from our trash.
As we wandered around, folks from WashedAshore.org also explained how this unique space had a “workshop” area where people could come and help sort through pieces of trash to create the next great masterpiece. Even while we were there a few little kids came in to have a little craft time in the workshop.
Obviously, the purpose of Washed Ashore isn’t just to create pretty art from recycled and repurposed materials. The art is merely a vessel for their bigger message about how prevalent and harmful marine debris and plastic pollution is in our society.
More from Washed Ashore:
90% of the debris we collect is petroleum-based: plastic items, nylon ropes and net. We are able to use 98% of this trash to create sculptures, including a walk-through replica of an ocean gyre, a Styrofoam coral reef, Henry the fish, a plastic bottle sea jelly, an oil-spill replica, and a musical sea star (tuned to an e-flat scale!). An interdisciplinary environmental arts curriculum and a feature-length documentary are in progress to accompany this work.
Through their philanthropic and artistic efforts, thousands of pounds of debris have been removed from beaches and turned into beautiful pieces of art. Today, these pieces are displayed in both Bandon and across the country as a traveling exhibit to raise awareness for their cause. The exhibits can be seen throughout the year at places such as the San Francisco Zoo, the Virginia Beach Aquarium and many other popular zoos, aquariums, and venues friendly to the cause.
If their purpose is to raise awareness, they should look no further than Two Lane America as a successful case study… Through our exposure to Henry, we ended up learning about an entire movement to address a tragic issue plaguing seaside areas.
If you’re in Bandon, OR, visit the Washed Ashore exhibit hall and workshop:
Harbortown Events Center
Exhibit hours: 1-6pm Tues-Sat
Workshop hours: 1-3pm, 4-6pm Tues-Sat