june mandala / making do begins

clock in break room at RecologyI snapped my June Mandala last November while waiting for a final interview for one of the six artist-in-residence openings at Recology San Francisco in the coming year. My heart was beating a mile a minute. I had 15 minutes to pitch my project to a room full of arts professionals…

I want to explore the experience of “making do” through the model of improvisational patchwork. My premise is that in a culture where we have an abundance of choice, we are actually deprived of the simplicity of choice.

Making do with what we have at hand ignites the imagination. When we have less to choose from, when we intentionally limit our choices, we are freed from being overwhelmed, and are able to find flow. Which is rejuvenating! Making do with what comes our way, requires that we excercise our ingenuity in order to satisfy ourselves. This accomplishment is a state of gratitude, a rhythm of attention, that feeds the spirit and restores the soul.

The Recology AIR Program in San Francisco, has been around for 25+ years, and it is a crucible for making do. Two artists at a time are each given a studio for four months and full access to the PDRA (public disposal and recycle area) to scavenge materials for making their art.

Recology PDRA in San Francisco

At the end of the four months there is a public exhibition of finished work, made with 99% with materials from the dump.  So if you are a painter, you have to scavenge surfaces, and canvas, and paints and even basic tools like brushes and painting utensils, to make your paintings.  Wouldn’t this make a great reality tv show!


I will be improvising a series of quilts and sculptures from clothing and other materials during my Recology residency, but that’s not all. Equally important I will be on a four month quest to explore the nature of making do, by writing/blogging in depth about my surprises and discoveries both internal and external.  I will be posting on IG about my finds, how they inspire me, and what I make out of them.

I started the residency on June 1. My final exhibition will be September 23-24 & 27. My time of Making Do  at the dump begins!


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13 Responses to june mandala / making do begins

  1. Pingback: make do with me | daintytime ~ Sherri Lynn Wood

  2. Jana D says:

    This is going on o be so interesting to follow along.

  3. Monica McGregor says:

    Brilliant idea. I would watch that show!

  4. Pam says:

    Wow, you are an artist. Can’t wait to see what becomes….

  5. Pam Rocco says:

    Good for you, Sherri. I can hardly wait to see what you make. You’ve seen “Waste Land,” the movie about Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz, who took beautiful photographs of huge installations he made at a dump, right? If not, see it. Muniz’s photos honored individuals who scavenged at the dump, and I’m sure you’ll be able to turn your art to some similar purpose. You are nothing if not thoughtful, and I’m eager to find out what you’re thinking about during your four-month residency at Recology.

  6. Claire` says:

    If I’d been on Instagram, I’d have known. Too bad I have a dumb phone.

  7. Tubularsock says:

    Garbage in ………. Art out!

    Can’t wait for the final outcome!

    Keep your boots high ………

  8. Claire` says:

    Do you have to scavenge a sewing machine?

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