Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Interview with Breadtag Artist, Beth Taylor

Beth Taylor's 'Breadtag World' is open from 2nd - 20th July

What can viewers expect from your exhibition ‘Breadtag World’, at Sweets Workshop?

People who come and see the show will get to see the planets, moons and sun of our solar system lovingly rendered out of over 12,000 breadtags. As my husband Jeff kindly pointed out, there are no stars in our solar system except for the sun, but I've got artistic license so there will be some stars too. I would love it if people came and checked it out, got a smile out of it, and thought about all the things we throw away that could have another incarnation.

How would you describe your style?
Hmmm. That's a tough one. I am a photographer and a documentary filmmaker as well as being (possibly the world's only) breadtag artist. What hangs all my work together is a love of the everyday, a desire to find beauty in unexpected places, and a sense of humour.

Can you tell us about about the processes you use to produce your 3D sculptures?
The first step has been to amass enough breadtags, and that has taken years. Approximately 15,000 breadtags have gone into making these sculptures, so to give you an idea, if you laid the loaves of bread end to end they would stretch the length of 66 Olympic swimming pools! Half of them are from family, friends and co-workers. The other half are from the Mental Illness Foundation of South Australia, who sell recycled breadtags to farmers for their produce. Boy was it a relief to find those guys, because I didn't want to have to use unused ones.

To make the sculptures, I formed units of the tags by clipping them together and melted them in the oven (keeping the space well-ventilated!) Then I glued them onto styrofoam balls that were painted showing where each colour should go (like paint by numbers). Sometimes if I didn't have the exact colour I wanted, I would paint each tag individually with plastics dye.

Each of the larger works took about 40 hours to produce, and much of it was done while half-watching Masterchef on my computer to keep me revved up! The last, and one of the most important processes was to keep my 18 month old away from the sculptures (he calls them "moons"). He is almost as obsessed with breadtags as his mother and if he sees one lying around anywhere he'll bring it to me with much excitement.

When did you start creating things from breadtags, and what do you enjoy about it?
I've been collecting them since 2003 and making things with them since 2006. I love all the colours they come in, the fact that every one of them is unique with its little quirks in the plastic and the date stamped on them. They are little found objects that are beautiful as well as functional. I also love the thought that everyone I know collects them for me instead of throwing them out.

Making sculptures out of them is really meditative. They fit together so beautifully. It's like re-scaling a fish, or putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

My greatest honour to date was to make a commissioned work for Jerre Paxton, the son of the man who invented bread-tags in the States. He runs his father's company Kwiklok, and he now has his very own piece of bread-tag art (pictured below).

I owe a lot to bread-tags.

What else can you make with all those breadtags?
I have made magnets, brooches, necklaces and earrings. I've also made cards and CD covers with them. My husband and I have a family crest and there's a breadtag on there. We used them as bonbonniere for our wedding and made the wedding invitations using them. The applications are infinite!

I already know the project I'm doing with them next, but it's a secret!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.