Washed Up

August 22, 2011

What do you think about this photo series by Alejandro Duran? He uses plastic that has washed up on the shores of protected areas of Mexico. So far he’s identified trash from 42 different countries. Yikes!

I think his work is so impactful. It makes me want to create something amazing from trash. Sometimes I daydream about building an entire house (a really good-looking one!) from castoff materials. Wouldn’t that be the coolest? I wonder how you go about finding an architect and builder that would know about that sort of thing?

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag August 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

This is truly amazing!


2 Susie August 22, 2011 at 11:15 am

Butch Anthony did just that. He is Natale Chanin of Alabama Chanins partner. Amazing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvHn8hd_PSg&feature=player_embedded


3 Design Mom August 23, 2011 at 1:01 am

Thanks so much for the link, Susie!


4 Aimee August 22, 2011 at 11:36 am

I wonder what he does with trash when the photo shoot is over….


5 Design Mom August 23, 2011 at 1:04 am

Good question, Aimee!


6 Ren Lady Of The Arts August 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

wow- amazing- such a impact statement.


7 Krissy Thomas August 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


8 Elizabeth August 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I think it’s interesting but intensely sobering as well. It would be a good thing for those to see who belittle the efforts of conservationists!


9 bdaiss August 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Wow! Those are incredible! And sad at the same time. Such waste in our world right now.


10 Erin August 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thank you for sharing. It is really quite beautiful, but moreso sad. It’s making me melancholy.


11 Design Mom August 23, 2011 at 1:05 am

I know what you mean.


12 Holly August 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Those are beautiful pictures! Check out what a friend of mine helped build in Uganda: http://elizamoreno.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/introducing-ot-cupa/


13 Katie August 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

There’s a house in B.C. made of glass embalming jars. Kind of creepy, but it was so interesting! You can take tours. It’s near Creston.


14 hikooky August 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Very interesting, both conceptually and visually! His work reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy’s. http://www.rwc.uc.edu/artcomm/web/w2005_2006/maria_Goldsworthy/TEST/index.html


15 yen August 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I’d love to design a house out of old and abandoned materials! Not very many people seem to want that though.


16 Terrie Lynn Bach August 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

Check out Dan Phillips in Huntsville Tx. He builds houses with recycled materials. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/garden/03recycle.html?pagewanted=all


17 Krystle @ ColorTransformedFamily August 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I love the pop of color the plastic provides. It’s unfortunate that it has been washed ashore from other countries though. Thanks for showcasing his work.


18 Stephanie August 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

The colors are striking! And yes, interesting in relation to conservation and the work of Andy Goldsworthy.

Have you heard of Michelle Stitzlein? http://artgrange.com/michelleworkshop.html She creates artwork with kids using bottlecaps. I used her method to create a bottlecap mural in our school cafeteria. My students collected discarded bottlecaps for months to create our international foods display! And being overseas ourselves (China), we collected from around the world as we each traveled to and from China during holidays.



19 Andrea August 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I like the idea that something beautiful can be made from junk.


20 Design Mom August 23, 2011 at 1:08 am

Me too!


21 heidi garner August 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

We have some cinder pits that people use when they go to target practice. I am certain that most people don’t pick up their shells and they leave all the crap out there that they used for targets. i thought it would be cool to collect all the different ammo shells and encase them in resign towers around the area, same with the tv’s and other garbage.


22 Design Mom August 23, 2011 at 1:08 am

Sounds like a cool project, Heidi. I hope you get to do it.


23 Sarah Reaves August 22, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I really like this! It reminds me a little of the pothole art in Paris. I love to read about how people “upcycle” things. I’ve been trying to think of a way to upcycle children’s books that are worn out (or torn apart)


24 krista August 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Amazing photos. Your desire to build a ‘recycled’ house reminds me of Earthships. http://www.earthship.com/ My hubby and I dream about building one of these houses.


25 teresa August 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Interesting- the river of blue shoes… is beautiful.


26 Ale August 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

I’m in love with coloured recycled glass from bottles and jars used as wall decoration! The link to earthship reminded something I’ve seen years ago on Grand designs (on channel4), probably part of the same project: recycled tires, recycled glass jars and bottles, and curves that remind me of Gaudi’s buildings! Well, if you think well Gaudi’s mosaics (think Park Guell or Casa Batlló) are made by… broken tiles!


27 Noe @ ADELLA AVENUE August 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

I’m a big fan myself. Repurposing in such a beautiful way is a worthy endeavor in my book.


28 Rosa @ flutterflutter August 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

My oldest is almost seven, and loves to make large robots out broken bike wheels, old lights, wood, etc. It’s the one creative project that he and his dad love to do together… and it’s amazing what the garbage can become!! Hmm, maybe I should post about that sometime!


29 Terrie Lynn Bach August 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

Dan Phillips in Huntsville, Tx builds homes out of recycled materials. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/garden/03recycle.html?pagewanted=all


30 Jordan August 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hooray! Alejandro is a former coworker of mine, and I was so pleasantly surprised to see his work featured on your site!


31 Stephanie Smirnov August 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Absolutely gorgeous. It would be nice to think it gets upcycled into something equally as gorgeous after the installations have been taken apart. Thanks for sharing!


32 Ana Flores August 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I can’t thank you enough for this. In fact, I finally am coming out of lurker-ville to leave a comment!
I lived in Mexico for 5 years, met my husband there and then moved to Playa del Carmen for another year before ending up in LA. Playa del Carmen is an hour away from Sian Ka’an and been there several times.
It’s such a pristine paradise that I always felt like an intruder while there. It baffles me to think my lifestyle could be the cause of a new “invasion,” definitely an intrusion.
I loved this so much I shared it today as one of my Mexico Today posts on my site. I dare to link, just because it’s a full credit to you for making me {us} aware of this.

Thank you!!!!


33 kelleyn August 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Beautiful, but sad at the same time!


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