Sometimes something completely unexpected causes a life path to take a slight turn in a direction previously unexplored. Janet Ronacher explains, “I began fusing plastic bags in my artwork after reading that the Hurricane in Haiti destroyed the dwellings of residents. The monsoon rains that continued after the Hurricane horrified a Bend woman who decided to get her friends together to iron 10’ x 10’ tarps to give the Haitians some shelter. I have never met the woman but I was so impressed with her can-do spirit as she sent many tarps to Haiti.”
And so, a seed was planted and Janet started to explore this new concept. After thinking about the woman in Bend and dreaming about the possibilities Janet started experimenting with small bags. That included layering bags, ironing them
together until she had roughly a 12” x 24” piece of plastic that she could cut into strips and weave as baskets.
“I was surprised that the bags I had were not enough to really work as I thought they should. So I asked friends and neighbors for any bags they thought were bright and colorful for me to try. I was shocked at the number of folks who were delighted to have a use for the bags. That one basket the size of a 6” x 6” box used over thirty bags. It was difficult to count the bags and keep ironing and then weaving so I never counted again.”
(The difference between Janet and me (and maybe many of you) is that her work is art. Mine, at best, would be “craft”. This is a good time to explain that the jury process was used to separate out the work of people who, while done well, just did not reach that level of art we hoped to introduce to the public. Janet’s ability to take one of the biggest contributors to an environmental mess on our planet and produce something attractive and even functional is a talent that many do not have.)
“I feel good about using reclaimed materials as my medium since it is so plentiful and I feel compelled to keep as much as possible out of the oceans, waterways and food supplies of animals and humans. I have read that plastic never really goes away and that it has a half life of over 400 years. Yes I might run out of materials eventually and my work will someday become waste also. In the meantime I will continue to save the environment one bag at a time until scientists and engineers find a better alternative.”Janet Ronacher and Fiber Design By Janet will be located at Booth #31.