Sandra Hansen, MFA
When Sandra Hansen became an Eco artist in 2014 she began painting about environmental issues. She then moved to creating art from plastic bags. Sandra wanted to become more environmentally sound in her art practice. In 2015 she fell in love with the magic of creating something translucent from leaves and bark. Handmade paper is completely environmentally sound and can be absolutely gorgeous. Its rich texture and its delicate gauzy effects are amazing. Paper has the ability to bring alive the horrendous problems of water pollution simply by putting plastic bags into the pulp. Paper is exceedingly versital as well and can be used in many multimedia objects and hangings.
Eco Artist dealing with water pollution through handmade paper.
“Always be like water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.”
― Santosh Kalwarhere.
When thousands of fish died in Lake Erie in 2014, I began investigating water damage in local waterways, the Great Lakes and the Pacific Gyre. I learned that on a tiny island wildlife refuge in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, tens of thousands of pounds of new garbage piles up every year. Ships cause 20% of the garbage while 80% comes from litter, industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and garbage mismanagement. Twenty-eight million tons of plastic bags find their way into our oceans, lakes and waterways each year. Through wind and wave action each of these bags breaks down into micro plastics. These plastics are eaten by fish, get into our drinking water, or is transported thousands of miles to the Pacific gyre or other vortexes in each lake, sea, and ocean in the world. As the personal is political, my research convinced me to become an environmental artist.
As I began immersing myself in water pollution issues and Eco art, my art practice changed and I became a papermaker. Papermaking is one of the most environmentally sound art mediums. I work large scale because of the enormity of the problem of pollution. I experimented with kozo, Japanese gampi, iris and day lily leaves from my garden as well as other paper pulps. Abstracted water in the form of waves, bubbles, waterways, or the sea and fish became my regular motifs. Each piece of art speaks to the beauty of water and the importance of caring for our water.