Waste Not, Want Not
When Meghan Dulin ’17 set out to create a garden made of trash, she was tapping into a newly discovered interest kindled in her conceptual art class, finding artistic inspiration in the environment around her. The result—a sparkling, colorful array of “flowers” made of plastic bottles and tin cans, attached to green bamboo skewers as stems—is called “Another Wasted Garden.”
Installed on the lawn in front of Hodson Hall, the garden earned Dulin first prize in this year’s Earth Day Green Sculpture Contest, sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society and SANDBOX.
“I wanted to take trash, which people don’t necessarily think of as being beautiful, and make it into something beautiful,” says Dulin, an art major. “I wanted the actual flowers to be trash, and to show that it can be reused and made beautiful if you recycle.” She derived the piece’s double entendre title from all the gardens she’s tried to grow in the past that have ended up overgrown and messy.
The garden itself is recycled, since she’d previously used the materials to create a 12-foot-tall recycling symbol as part of her conceptual art class. It hung in the new Constance Larrabee Studio Arts Center until she dismantled it to use its plastic bottles for the garden. Once she took it apart, she cut off the bottles’ tops and bottoms and painted them bright colors. She cut soda cans in half and then in strips, which she peeled back to resemble blooming flowers. She painted the skewers green, and mounted the flowers on top, then inserted them in the grass outside Hodson.
“That took about two weeks, and then the installation took about three hours,” Dulin says. “The whole thing probably cost about ten dollars to make.” Reusing common items to create something new is a pursuit Dulin has enjoyed since she was a child.
“Ever since I was really little I would make little sculptures of toilet paper rolls or whatever I could use around the house, because we never had a lot of money to go and buy expensive art materials,” Dulin says. “So I would always do that and be outside, because I love being outside, and collect leaves and sticks and things to make pictures. I was always kind of brought up that way.”
Along with her work in the art studio (and elsewhere), Dulin is vice president of chapter development for Alpha Omicron Pi.