September 23, 2013

Sculptor David Edgar to present lecture, work

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- David Edgar, sculptor and promoter-of-recycling, brings some of his creations, along with a demonstration of his technique, to Southern Illinois University Carbondale later this week as part of “Sustain II: ECO Art and Artisan Fair” at the University Museum.

Edgar will discuss his work during a lecture at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, in the museum’s auditorium.  The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28.

This art event promotes environmental responsibility.  Event organizer Nathaniel Steinbrink, curator for the University Museum, explained that sustainability includes support for local cultural expression.  In addition, artists participating in this exhibit are committed to exploring ecologically friendly ways to make art.

For Edgar, the guest artist, that means incorporating throwaway plastic into his art.  His “Plastiquarium” is a collection of fantastical fish made from detergent bottles (the “Yellow-Finned Cascader,” for example) or spray bottles, yogurt cups -- anything plastic.  He’s also used the bottles and cups and other colorful, plastic throwaways to make jellyfish lamps, reefs details, and even decorative masks.

Edgar’s book, “Fantastic Recycled Plastic,” written with his wife, Robin A. Edgar, offers 30 projects that do-it-yourselfers can try. Steinbrink said he and Barbara Bickel, associate professor in the School of Art and Design, plan to organize a special workshop for high school and grade school art teachers who might want to use Edgar’s project ideas in the classroom.

“Artists have the opportunity to be leaders in a sustainable economy,” Steinbrink said.  “This is an opportunity for artist to sell their work, but also to talk together about how they can promote environmentally-friendly art-making practices.”

The fair will also feature workstations where guests can try their hands at making their own art by recycling and rethinking products that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

The SIU Green Fund contributed funding to this project.  Student groups including LOGIC (Local Organic Gardening Initiative of Carbondale), the Art History Association and the Museum Student Group are also participating.  

To learn more about David Edgar, visit