Trash to Treasure
Riverside refuse becomes sculpture at Franklin Park
For Aurora Robson, art involves recycling—and a lot of it.
“All of my work is based on taking something negative and turning it into something positive,” says the Brooklyn artist behind “Sacrifice + Bliss,” nine waste-based sculptures installed at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens through April.
The massive centerpiece is “The Quality of Mercy,” a nebulous tangle of tubes and pink-spiked orbs floating above the Himalayan biome.
It’s also made of plastic—locally-sourced debris collected from the Olentangy River basin by eco-conscious volunteers. With the help of six CCAD students, Robson cut plastic bottles into graceful swoops and swirls, then airbrushed each piece in a tent in the conservatory parking lot.
Robson also has planted “Landmines,” black bulbs made of plastic waste, among flowers in the outdoor sculpture garden. Her installation “Be Like Water” has garlands of stark white water bottles dangling from the conservatory’s atrium.
Her goal is to get viewers to think about their impact on the Earth and be gentler and kinder—a perfect message for National Recycling Week, celebrated Nov. 12 to 18, and kicked off at the conservatory with an upcycled craft fair Nov. 10 and 11. Robson’s work is also paired with waste-stream presentations and info on local trash-diverters including Eartha Limited and RecyColumbus.
“I want this to be like a great book,” Robson says, “where you can have one experience with it on one day and something completely different on another.”