Had artist Donna Iona Drozda tried, she could not have come up with a more creative depiction of Val, her Jack Russell terrier. The papier-mache pup, in a play bow, mouth wide open, red tongue lolling off to the side, and a ball between its paws, has Jack Russell terrier written all over it.
The sculpture of Val will be one of three papier-mache animals that Drozda is entering in the Virginia Beach SPCA show, "Once is Not Enough," a show for art made with recyclables. The show opens from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 11, at the shelter.
What makes Drozda's art show entry even more special is that her droll dog is made entirely of recycled materials, the bulk of which are plastic bags. Her other entries, a fox and a whimsical raccoon, also are made from plastic bags.
The art show is part of the SPCA's green event this weekend called "There is no Planet B." In addition to the show, the SPCA is sponsoring a household hazardous waste collection, a blue jean and denim collection and a plant and book swap on Saturday.
Hazardous wastes include items such as pesticides, herbicides, paint and harsh cleaning products, mercury and propane tanks. Denim, collected separately, will be recycled into insulation. Visitors also can bring a plant or a book and swap it for another.
As for Val, the Jack Russell, her sculptured image is not only made of recyclables, but Val herself also is "recycled," because she was adopted by Drozda 9 years ago. Drozda works in her studio with yet another "recycled" pup under her feet, Ruby the rescued Airedale. Drozda made the body of her recycled art critters by stuffing a used paper bag tight with plastic bags, also used, and wrapping the paper bag with masking tape. The legs are old paper towel or toilet paper rolls. Cardboard from discarded cereal boxes make good ears and such. Eyes are found items little like rubber bumpers, or seeds.
"The fox might have acorn eyes or wisteria seed eyes," Drozda said. She was working on the fox legs that day. Drozda made the papier-mache that covers the bodies with torn scraps of more old paper bags and white glue. Glue and the final paint jobs of acrylic are the only real "artist" materials. "It's so much fun," Drozda said.
This is not Drozda's first foray into recycling materials through art. She taught a children's camp for The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia at the Virginia Aquarium recently. Campers created sea creatures out of plastic bags and other recyclables. The colorful whimsical stuffed sea stars, fish and other sea animals belie their beginnings. Drozda began using recyclables in some of her art after thinking about how to use more inexpensive art materials.
"I think I was just looking around to see if there are materials available to use for the creative process that are not so expensive." She began saving toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, paper bags and the "plethora of plastic bags everywhere to see if we could recycle something wonderful out of something we would throw away."
Val, the papier-mache dog is one of those wonderful things.Throw the ball quick or else she might bark!