Trashy Women make their own treasures

Group of 8 transform common refuse into works of art

August 10, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Sun Reporter

When most people finish using products like laundry detergent containers, tin cans, pie tins and greeting cards, they throw them in the garbage or in a recycling bin.

But a group of eight local women covet trash that they can make into treasures.

"I love the idea of taking something society had thrown out," said Sue Eyet, 54, who is one of the eight women. "It's nice to be able to bring out the beautiful, from what society thinks is ugly."

They use garbage for the art they make as part of a group that formed about three years ago, called the Trashy Women. The name refers to their materials, and was part of a marketing ploy to get people to take notice, Eyet said. Eight of the original 10 Trashy Women will open a show at the Liriodendron Aug. 24.

Although they all use garbage to create their art, each member of the group, as well as the artistic creations, is distinct.

As an 8-year-old, Maggie Creshkoff, founder of the Trashy Women, made sculptures out of clay. Although she said she wasn't artistically driven, she enrolled in a pottery class as an adult. Later, after spending a year traveling in South America and Central America, she attended the Instituto Allende, in San Miguel, Mexico, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts in crafts and ceramics, said Creshkoff, now 53.

Creshkoff started the Trashy Women to fulfill an obligation to fill space at a satellite gallery, she said. When she came up short of exhibits for one month, she contacted some women she knew and asked them if they wanted to join her in an exhibit of a group she was going to call the Trashy Women. The women agreed, and they opened the first Trashy Women show in 2005.

"We were a group of women using refuse to make beauty," Creshkoff said. "We use all sorts of things to make our art."

Although she works with mixed media, she said she primarily creates pottery. She digs the clay she uses from a quarry owned by Stancills Inc., a Perryville sand and gravel company. She also does pottery-making demonstrations for schoolchildren. She shows the children how a pottery wheel changes the shape of things, she said.

"The kids know me at some of the schools, and that's very gratifying for me," said Creshkoff, who resides in Port Deposit. "It's the gift that keeps on giving back."

She dubbed her most popular "trashy" concoctions "rusty angels," she said.

Rusty angels are named after the materials she uses to create them. She presses clay into an old doll's face that she uses as a mold for the angels, she said. Then she folds galvanized roofing metal and baking tins to shape the angels.

"The material shows me what it wants to be," she said.

She uses a variety of items to create her wares, but one of her favorites is an empty detergent bottle, she said. "The colors are extraordinary."

Using a heat gun, fasteners, glue and the detergent containers, Creshkoff makes fish and birds, she said. "What we do is almost a metaphor for human potential."

A number of different things come out in her work, she said. Her tin-can robots appear cheerful, her masks made from aged wood appear to be African, and the angels have a religious quality about them.

Creshkoff will have figures made from cans, rusty angels, masks and figures in the show, ranging in price from $30 to $150.

Another member of Trashy Women, Jo Pinder, has been doodling since she was a toddler, she said. As a youngster, he sat under a big apple tree with her mother with markers and paper and drew pictures. At age 24, she started taking formal art classes.

Today, she creates collage and brush ink art works and works as the head decorator for Eldreth Pottery, a shop in Oxford, Pa.

Her collage pieces are made using a cigar box, wire, glass, papers, crayons and crayon papers, she said. To create the collages she melts bee's wax and digs local clay, which she puts on rice paper in a thin wash to create a loose design. Then she uses ink to enhance the design.

However, when she sits down to work on her art, she never knows what she wants to create, she said.

"I have lots of ideas," said Pinder, 56, of Colora. "But I never have a plan."

Pinder gets her inspiration, as well as a love of folk art and home arts, from her ancestors, including Betsy Ross - the woman who made the first American flag. Betsy Ross is her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, said Pinder, who has a pair of Betsy Ross' scissors that have been handed down for generations by her family.

However, Pinder's artwork is mostly papier mache and ink paintings on glass. To create one of her ink paintings, she uses ink, a window, a photo from a wedding etiquette book and a piece of an old wedding dress.

She will include several collages in the exhibit. They range in price from $20 to $550.

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