People’s response to the Great Depression and rationing during both World Wars are examples of the paradigm: something from something; think silk for parachutes instead of stockings, and collecting scrap metal for bullet casings. The current effort toward recycling has progressed from the early attempts in the 1990s (with stories of barges drifting from sea to sea carrying blocks of recycled plastic looking for a manufacturer), to current possibilities of EVERY-thing made from recycled paper and plastics and more.

The collection of Mike Bagack, Artifacts of Solitary Confinement, includes archetypes of the human ingenuity expressed through something from something. The prisoners who invented these objects clarify the importance of use and value. We can be inspired by the creation of tools and artworks fabricated under conditions of such limitation.

Artists Sarah Perry and Noah Purifoy choose to seek out objects that are neglected or unrecognizable in order to transform them through ideas. Both artists focus on the artistic narrative, and the reclaimed objects are sought out based on the content of that narrated thought.

I originally thought to call this section, something from nothing, and our daughter Zoe pointed out that these were really things made from something, not “nothing”.  Her fresh point of view changed everything about my attitude.