Solbit Sees Trash Turned to Art

Dear Nicalai,

When’s the last time you looked a broken pieces of a plate, a cup, a saucer, or a bowl, and you didn’t think, “Trash?”  Well, I just saw thousands of pieces of broken pottery and tile, and guess what I thought?  “Art!”

Parc Gruell

Trash or Art, it all depends on what you do with it, right?

Isn’t that pretty?  Doesn’t it invite you to look at it and enjoy it? Yet, if you look at it carefully, you’ll see that it’s made up of “trash,” broken pieces of ceramic.

Holy mackerel, I just remembered the last time I didn’t think “trash” when I saw broken pieces of ceramic!  I’ll bet you remember too. It was when we were in Bangkok at one of the Buddhist temples.  Yeah, remember?  Nona even put that in one of her blogs, “The Look: Gaudi; The Materials: Chinese; The Location: Thailand.” Here’s a photo of it.

They used broken pottery that had been thrown away for this Buddhist temple.

They used broken pottery that had been thrown away for this Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

Look how similar that one is to what we found here in Barcelona.

Remember our friend Betsy, who went with us on our walking safari in Tanzania.  I thought of Betsy when I met this cute little fishy, because Betsy knows the names of all the fish in the sea, and she probably could have told me what kind of fish this one is.

Don’t you think our colors match, the fish’s and mine?

Don’t you think our colors match, the fish’s and mine?

Who would think that you could take flat tiles of many colors and turn them into a giant salamander? This is Gaudi’s famous piece, also known as “The Dragon.”

Just break a bunch of colorful flat tiles to make all kinds of curved surfaces.

Just break a bunch of colorful flat tiles to make all kinds of curved surfaces.

The more I look at this sculpture the more I wonder: is it a salamander or is it a dragon?  I wish I had thought to ask when we were there.

Anyway, I learned that this kind of broken tile art is called Trencadís or pique assiette. Most often, the artist uses already broken pieces of ceramic, found and collected from trash heaps. We went to Parc Güell to visit the Monumental Zone where we saw a lot of Antoni Gaudi’s work.  Here’s another example.

Recycling trash to make art appeals to me.

Recycling trash to make art appeals to me.

Hey, I gotta go now.  I asked Nona and Papa to take me to the city dump to look for trash that I can turn into art, but they had a better idea. “Solbit, why don’t we take you to some pottery and tile shops to ask the shopkeepers if they will give you some broken pieces to make your art project?”  Great idea, huh!  Pretty soon, I’m going to be a broken tile artist! 

Also, I already know what I’m going to make.  I’m going to make a sculpture of my Moroccan friend, Tagine, and then cover it in blue-green broken tile. I’ll call it “Turquoise Tortoise!”

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

P.S.  If you decide to make some broken tile art, please don’t break any of  your family’s dishes to do it.  OK?  Just recycle some trash.  Remember: Don’t trash art; Art trash!

October 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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