3D Residents’ Project Diary: Week 6

Bonnie and Jen aren't going to let a little (or a lot) of rain stop Operation #recyCLEAN

Week 6 brought #recyCLEAN cold clouds and rain. So much rain that Bonnie and Jen had to postpone their second volunteer “Suds Party” by a week. At Suds Parties, volunteers rinse the residual detergent out of laundry jugs so they won’t be all sticky and gooey when Steven Siegel builds his sculpture with them. And Bonnie and Jen supply pizza and suds of the soda and beer variety to make it a party.

It did cross their minds to just set all that plastic outside and let the downpour have at it, but it’s just not as easy as that – the soap liquid really sticks to the insides of the jugs and takes some light scrubbing to remove it. Yarrow even tried putting the jugs through a washing machine cycle, but no dice – they really need to be hand washed. So Bonnie and Jen need you to lend your hands. They’ll be having more Suds Parties and they’d love your business, school or community group to sign up for one. To volunteer email recycle@theavenueconcept.com

As for clouds, in week 6 they were hovering over Bonnie and Jen’s fishing net collection efforts. However, being resourceful is not about getting snagged up when something doesn’t work out. Sometimes you just have to move on and re-strategize: look for the silver lining in the cloud. Is there an opportunity/idea that you might have missed had this cloud not gotten in your way? When visiting a friend over Easter, Bonnie noticed some netting over their chicken coop and asked about it. It turns out it was a soccer net from the college where his friend’s husband works. They ordered the wrong one and it was just sitting in the shop. He asked if he could have it and used it to secure the chickens in their pen. The lightbulb went off and the focus swiftly moved from fishing nets to athletic nets. She put a call out on social media and a day later a sizable bundle of old baseball nets appeared at the Avenue doorstep and our friends at Rhode Island College contributed some old batting cage netting as well. Score! Silver linings deliver a pot of gold for #recyCLEAN Rainbow. If anyone has connections to sports teams with nets that have been retired or will be over the summer, please contact Brian at brian@theavenueconcept.com.

Week 6 also brought a lot of music and art to the project. On Tuesday, May 23, Jen presented the #recyCLEAN project to her Songwriters Series workshop class at Brown University, and classmates took turns playing environmental and social protest songs on her Whale Guitar. It was a profound and powerful evening.

Wednesday, the cloud cover broke and let some sunshine and warmth pierce through the week’s soggy bogginess. Jen took advantage of the rays to come to The Avenue Concept and spray paint a mural on the legal walls. Thanks to the infectious enthusiasm, welcome and teaching of Avenue board member Ed Lawrence, Jen has been introduced to the culture of writing on the walls and has caught the itch. On the left is an image of an “Ocean Eye” a concept she has been thinking about for decades and was so pleased to have finally painted. She finds the fact that the painting will likely be covered over in a matter of days very freeing: It’s not precious, and it feels so good to paint large and move your whole body as you go. Did you know you can come down to The Avenue Concept any day and paint on its legal walls? They even sell the Montana paint right there at The Paint Bar. It’s so fun to experiment with the different caps and colors, and it’s really fun to collaborate – as you’ll see in future posts.

Saturday was a double dose of music and art: Professor Magaly Ponce brought her sculpture class from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts to The Avenue Concept for a tour of the studio before heading downtown to see all the art TAC has installed in the city. The students had heard about the #recyCLEAN project and were psyched to see all the plastics we’ve been collecting. Jen brought The Whale Guitar and talked about its history and making and mission, and how it was inspired by their teacher who had created an installation themed on whales almost 10 years ago. It turns out that one of Magaly’s students (pictured right) is a fan of guitarist J. Mascis (whose signature is on the front of the guitar), and had been following the Whale Guitar Project on Instagram since it was invited to J’s 50th birthday celebration in NYC four years ago. Jen was delighted to meet a young person so into J’s generation of musicians. She was even more delighted when that same student picked up the guitar and began playing it beautifully. It now bears the signature of Grayson Rizzi on the back, along with J. Mascis buds Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo (and two hundred other musicians who have played it).

All in all, it was a really great week at TAC with Jen and Bonnie and the #recyCLEAN project. They’re both so tickled to be doing this work and to be encountering all these challenges and experiences. They can’t wait until Steven Siegel starts building with the materials, and they can high five each other and know they did a great job.