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Trashion 2011 Exhibition | by Urban Woodswalker
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Trashion 2011 Exhibition

Homage to Life on the Farm


Artist: BONNIE ZIMMER, Rensselaer, Indiana


"Inspired, in part, by the recent royal wedding and the reruns of Princess Diana’s crazy and spectacular train, I have created this “fantasy cape” installation specifically for TRASHION 2011. Having exhibited in all ten annual Trash to Treasure shows, I’m delighted to go beyond my previous mixed media work, which includes baskets, sculpture, and installation, and venture over into “fashion”.


This work is the product of my spontaneous, creative play with materials. Thanks to family members who shared their recyclables such as cat food cans, wine corks & foil; bottles, caps & lids, Skoal cans and more. Along with a few natural materials, I attached with hot glue (would rather have sewn everything on but not enough time…) to a fabric train made from an old black sheet. This I created in my home studio. My “mannequin” was created from tomato cages from my garden, sitting on a tire, with a bust I formed with hardware cloth, cable ties and a little black spray paint. The dried sunflowers rising out of the form (cut down to fit in my van) also come from last year’s garden to form a wonderfully creepy persona, perfect to wear my fantasy cape. The installation was created on site over a two day period (about 10 hours) with selected items from my cherished collection of natural and synthetic objects and materials. These items were “harvested” in the woods, fields, roadsides, and out-buildings around my families’ farms in rural, Jasper county in northwest Indiana where I have all my life (except for five years at IU, Bloomington). Natural materials include dried sunflowers, basil & sage plants; pine needles & cones, sweet gum balls, milkweed pods & stems, corn husks, cobs, stalks, leaves and shelled corn; locust pods, walnut shells, pumpkins, day lily leaves, deer antlers, wild turkey feathers (over two dozen live on our farm) a few rocks, and more, are combined with my collection of farm objects, all very carefully arranged on a roofing felt underlayment.


Both playful and reverent, this work is really about “place” and the flora, fauna, and people who have lived, worked and occasionally played there. I hope it conveys both the unique and bitter sweet beauty of a rural place and times gone by through its objects and materials.


My installation is also informed by the history, process and meditative spirit of the amazing mandalas constructed by Tibetan monks as well as the beautiful and powerful sand paintings of Native Americans who lived in harmony with nature and cherished the resources they had.


My overall goal was to compose another new work that is visually compelling; a work that resonates with history and a sacredness I too believe is inherent in all things, whether natural or synthetic. By contemplating my very intentional arrangement, I hope you will experience a feeling of being taken beyond yourself by the power of art and to consciously choose to “treasure” the resources we have."



May 31, 2011


For more on this show that is up until July 21st 2011 go here:


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Taken on September 27, 2011