Beauty. Art. Hope. And Trash.

Calder Kamin
plastic bags line the walls of Calder's studio

Today, we’re going to talk about hope. And beauty. And art.

Let’s face it, news headlines are often bad, especially when it comes to the environment. At times, the problems seem so big and overwhelming that it can be hard to figure out where you fit in.

That’s why we have artists 🙂

Earlier this week, we sat down with Calder Kamin, a local artist who makes her creations out of trash. That’s right, trash.

Calder attended the Kansas City Art Institute as a ceramic artist, but her work has always had a focus on how humans impact nature. After she graduated, she began to rethink the medium she was working in.

“Why am i ripping out this material out of the earth?…,” Calder said. “So I thought, why can’t the material be part of the message?”

That’s when she started using things like plastic bags, koozies, and plastic easter eggs to create her works of art.

Calder Kamin
one of Calder’s pieces of work, hanging in her studio

“Nature doesn’t waste,” Calder explained during our interview. “Waste is poor design. Why on earth are humans wasteful with all these things in the world?”

With this close connection between art and her environmental message, Calder wants to make some of these issues a little less mystifying and to let people know that there is something they can do.

“We’re all in this together,” Calder said. “We’re all going to be impacted by what’s to come. But me just making trash with just my hands and a hot glue gun, gives people a little hope.”

Calder Kamin
one of Calder’s pieces of work, hanging in her studio

And she’s not just doing it for the adults. Calder also works with children, using art to help explain difficult topics. She’s currently the artist-in-residence at the DoSeum in San Antonio, focusing on talking with kids about what our future will look like based on our choices.

“They’re incredibly receptive, surprisingly enough, about what are we going to do with all this stuff in the world?,” Calder said. “And what is their responsibility because the adults before them didn’t take responsibility.”

Calder Kamin
one of Calder’s pieces of work, hanging in her studio

Want to see Calder’s work in person?

You can catch her this weekend at the East Austin Studio Tour, taking place November 17th and 18th from 11am to 6pm (although on Saturday she won’t be there until around 3pm) This annual self-guided tour is free to attend and gives you the rare opportunity to meet with artists, visit their studios, and buy their work. Calder is located at stop 339, 5305 Bolm Road, Bay 10, Studio 6.

Want to check out other artists with environmental themes? You can explore some of the East’s themed tours (including the Native Tree Tour and the Flora and Fauna Tour) here.

And in that spirit of hope, we’ll leave you with one last quote from Calder -“I’m an artist. I have a creative gift. Why not use it to make the world a better place?”

Calder Kamin
Calder Kamin working in her studio


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