Mary Ellen Croteau - March 2015

Shells, Oil Spill

I have been making artwork which comments on the state of our environment since 2000.  I have been working with non-recyclable plastic waste since 2003.  I first worked with plastic bags, riding, crocheting and sculpting them into ropes, rugs, coral and waterfalls.

I began collecting plastic bottle caps, whose colors are so vivid and beautiful, but which like bags, not recycled. This piece is made from an image from the internet of sea shells in a refined oil spill.

Plastic is made from petroleum (i.e. oil). Think of it this way: we go to war so we can have plastic bags and bottles to throw away.

I urge everyone to rethink their reliance on plastic containers, especially bottled drinks and bottled water. Chicago's water is clean and safe, you do not need to buy water in bottles that is not even required to meet any purity standards that our city water must.

Humans do not need hydration 24-7. That is a marketing need which has arisen only in the last few decades of human existence. Plastic bottles are an enormous strain on our fragile environment, from digging oil out of the ground to refining it, shipping it and making it into plastic, to disposing of it in landfills. Even recycling causes pollution.

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