My 5: Richard Heap, Filmmaker

November 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Artists, Blog, Filmmakers, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

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British filmmaker Richard Heap (Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast) recently responded to the two questions we most often ask those we interview. We found his responses insightful. See what you think. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

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Graphic Designer Combines Art and Sustainability

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It takes courage to look at your profession and say, “We are part of the problem.” But Tania Kac, a freelance graphic designer who offers eco-friendly design solutions, does just that.

“We’re generating ideas that end up in the trash,” says Kac. “I’m passionate about design, but I also see how it impacts the environment. We create billions and billions of pieces of trash every year.” …

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The Green Side of Art – Making New Beauty from Old Objects

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Have you ever looked at a beer bottle and thought, That would make a good candle? Like many people switching to a more environmentally friendly – “green” – lifestyle, artists are finding new ways to show their creativity while recycling material that otherwise would be tossed in the garbage.

Tom Brown has found an outlet for his creativity by participating in the Iowa City Public Library’s Altered Book Sale and Exhibit.

For the past few years, people of all ages have been encouraged to participate in creating fun works of art using old books as the focal material of the work. Those who participate have the option of using their own library for material or picking up an old book from the Iowa City Public Library (ICPL).

Using recycled material such as books and copper, Brown went to work creating his piece for the exhibit: a lamp. Brown made the body from copper tubing and the shade from the pages of a medical encyclopedia.

“It was covered in skulls and kidneys and other body parts,” says Brown….

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Recycled Wedding Dresses Get New Life with Shakespeare

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“We use every part of the animal,” says renowned costume designer Lindsay W. Davis. He’s holding what used to be a pink party dress. “This little girl’s 1950s party dress had chocolate stains on the front. We opened it up and stuffed it, and now it’s a bustle!”

By “animal,” Davis isn’t talking about a living creature, but about previously worn clothing that he deconstructs and re-imagines into costumes for venues such as Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival. To their previous owners, they are castoffs, but in the hands of Lindsay W. Davis, they gain a new life and vibrant personality.

Davis, whose impeccable credentials include designing the original costumes for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a Tony Award Winning Best Musical on Broadway, is no stranger to the notion of recycling old clothing into wearable art….

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Design Student Creates Jewelry to Aid Gulf Wildlife

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Like nearly everyone who sees the damage its caused, Nadilyn Beáto is upset about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But she isn’t just complaining, she’s doing something about it. A junior at Parsons – The New School for Design in Brooklyn, New York, Beáto has recently begun designing, making, and selling fashion jewelry to benefit the wildlife affected by the vast oil leak.

Beáto’s jewelry depicts some of the animals that she wants to save: sea turtles, orcas, dolphins, American oyster catchers, black skimmers, and more. She uses Super Sculpey to create her jewelry pieces, then paints them with nontoxic paints. Her creations include necklaces, charm bracelets, and earrings. Each individual piece of jewelry takes her about an hour and a half to make.

The turtles sell for $15 in Beáto’s Etsy store, with $10 donated to the Gulf Coast Response team at the Environmental Defense Fund. Her goal is to create and sell 150 pieces of jewelry, raising $1,500 for the rescue and rehabilitation of the wildlife in the Gulf.

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Pop Opera ECOLOGIC Competes for Funds in Pepsi Project

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When I was a kindergartner in an inner city neighborhood of the Chicago Public Schools, my class was bussed downtown to see Rapunzel at one of the grand old theatres. From my nearly front-row seat, the magic of the theatre left a lasting impression on this kid from an economically challenged family.

That kind of magical experience is one Jay Nagle and Dwayne Parks would like to give to thousands of other kids in the Chicago Public Schools. Their goal is to produce free performances of Ecologic, their original musical with an environmental message, in Chicago’s Millennium Park. But their vision needs funding.

Parks and Nagle have entered the Pepsi Refresh Project contest to compete for a grant that would bring their project to life. Jay Nagle is a playwright, dance teacher, and director. His partner, Dwayne Parks, is a musician and composer. Together, they own Totally New Theatre and TKATS — Talented Kids, Adults, and TeenS — a nonprofit theatre arts organization that produces original musical performances. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with the team to find out more about their musical and why they think their project merits your votes in Pepsi’s Planet category this month….

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Help Rock Stars Save the Planet!

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Perhaps you’re wondering how rock stars can save the planet. It’s a pretty far-fetched notion — unless you know that 1% for the Planet has released an album of “40 rare and exclusive songs donated by leading artists to produce the first album dedicated to supporting the environment.” All proceeds from 1% for the Planet: The Music, Vol. 1 will be contributed to environmental organizations across the globe. You don’t hear those words — “all proceeds … will be contributed” — very often.

You might notice that we have a new badge on the upper right-hand corner of our website. It’s a link to purchase the album. Go ahead. Click on it. And get yourself a rockin’ good album that will put a smile on your face without leaving a big dent in your bank account….

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Photographer Della Calfee Focuses on Green Clients

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When Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviewed Bay Area artist and ecopreneur Della Calfee, we were intrigued by her self-description as a “green” photographer. How does that look in terms of her portfolio of images? we wondered. And, What kinds of clients hire a green photographer? We asked Calfee about these topics when we spoke with her by phone from her San Jose, California home.

CALFEE: I’ve been shooting pictures for decades, but it was only a couple years ago that I looked back at my body of work and realized that I was a “green” photographer. Once I realized that, something crystallized, and I have been able to move forward with much greater passion and direction and confidence.

To me, “green” means making environmentally conscious choices in every action taken. It means respecting life — including people, but not exclusively. So my photography focuses on clients working toward a better environment. Sustainably produced products; and green-minded services, leaders, and events would all be examples of “green” photography clients. …

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John J. Audubon, Iconic Painter of Birds

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Sometimes, the most extraordinary and singular lives prove to be the most typical. Through a sheer depth and diversity of experience, a person who appears well outside the norm can serve to embody it. If this were ever true of anyone, it was true of John James Audubon.

In the life and work of this failed businessman — turned bird painter — turned environmental icon, one can discern a piece of the fundamental American character. The energy, resourcefulness and enterprising nature of early Americans are bound up in Audubon.

As his biographer, Richard Rhodes, wrote, “No life was at once more unique and more representative of that expansive era when a national character emerged than Audubon’s. Celebrate him for his wonderful birds; but recognize him as well as a characteristic American of the first generation.” And as America made Audubon, so too did Audubon make himself….

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Ansel Adams at 100

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Photographer and naturalist Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is surely one of the most accomplished and ubiquitous artists in American history, his career a rare intersection between extraordinary popular success and widespread critical acclaim. Though now decades old, his striking black-and-white photographs still maintain a large cultural presence through museums, books, magazines, calendars, coffee mugs, posters, and clothing. Almost every American has had some contact with Adams’ work, if only in passing.

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Children Raising Children: Documenting Africa’s AIDS Crisis

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“Any human being who could look at these photos and not be moved would have to be lacking a heart,” I said, clicking through pictures of AIDS-orphaned children in Sub-Saharan Africa. “They are so beautiful. ”

“Yes,” said Karen Ande, the photographer. “That got to me, too.” Karen was at her home in San Francisco, California, when I called her for this interview. “From the first moment I saw the kids, I was taken. The children are all beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”

Ande is a documentarian of the struggles of AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. She supports various grassroots organizations working there, raising funds partially through the sale of her photographs.

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Love is Green

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To us, and to other environmentally minded people, saving rain forests and sea turtles and song birds and whales and all of nature is important — essential, in fact. But we must not lose sight of the urgency of caring for our fellow humans.

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Earth & Rowan, Eco-Friendly Art Supplies

November 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Art, Artists, Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, Ireland

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Dublin artist Pauline Rowan wasn’t satisfied with the art materials she and her students were using in their work. Most were filled with petrochemicals and were harmful to the artists and damaging to the environment. Rowan is a prolific photographer and videographer, a filmmaker, a painter, an illustrator and an art instructor. She is also an ecopreneur and the founder of Earth & Rowan.

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Legacy of a Green Artist and Dreamer

November 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Artists, Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, Wisconsin

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Jeanne Freymiller was a fiber artist, an unconventional quilter, and a dreamer. She was “green” before it was fashionable, collecting thousands of pounds of castoff and scrap fabric that otherwise would have been sent to the landfill. But she didn’t hoard it selfishly; Jeanne had a vision for how the rescued fabric could be used to help others.

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