More Ways to Recycle Plastic: Make a Quilt Square


Image from Leave No Plastic Behind: Amy Chovnick and 4H

Quilts are as American as apple pie. Pioneer women made them out of scraps of leftover and unwanted bits of fabric out of necessity, but they are also an art form with wonderful patterns. Lately they have become huge communal projects, with people contributing squares on a particular theme to make up the whole.

The National Plastic Quilt Project is a variation but continues the long line of community involvement and using leftovers. Its 24 squares were drawn from across the United States, are all made of plastic and all have a common theme of using recycled plastic.


Images from Leave No Plastic Behind: Vicky DeKrey

The National Plastic Quilt Project started as a call to artists, school children and working people to make a square for a quilt as well as making a commitment to live a plastic-free life during a three month period. This had to include not buying anything packaged in plastic and making a 12" square out of any plastic that was collected. The result would be a collection of these squares which would be made into the quilt and displayed across the U.S.

The artists used a fascinating range of plastics and themes for their squares. One used just packaging materials (above), another used personal feminine products, another used toilet paper wrapping which look very Mondrian-esque, (see below) and another layers of bags and straws.


Heather Bouley

It's a project of a Portland Oregon based group Leave No Plastic Behind. They are a community group that is locally based and "presents art exhibits and creative events year round to raise consciousness about the damaging effects of single-use plastic and motivate people to reduce and reuse." Their reach has extended with the National Quilt Project and has grown to include artists from across the country and displays of the quilt in several locales. Its last showing was at an ecological shoestore in Portland. If you live in the area, keep an eye out for this fascinating piece of Americana and recycled art.

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