Reused glamour at the Upcycle Contest

Dionne (left to right), Elias Cunningham, Jennifer Cunningham, Effie Brandt, June Palacios and and Tracey Reed at the Trash Fashion Show Oct. 14. (Photo by Lindsay Martinho for the Illinois Valley News)

On Oct. 14, the Cave Junction Farmers’ Market and Southern Oregon Guild held the seventh annual Upcycle Art and Furniture contest, a competition designed to showcase local artists’ ability to repurpose ordinary objects into extraordinary art pieces. Participants were encouraged to use the full scope of their artistic capabilities, and to think outside of the box in order to really impress the panel of judges.
The contest entries were as unique and multifaceted as the artists who crafted them. Simple sculptures made from materials like river rocks and scrap metal, interactive art pieces that could double as costumes or instruments, even a solar-powered barbecue lay in the center of the market. For most of the afternoon, those in attendance were able to see the beauty in discarded items that had been given new life.
The art competition was preceded by the second annual Trash Fashion Show, and the direction given to the designers and models of that event was very much the same as far as allowable materials and levels of creativity. The only real limits were those that the designers imposed upon themselves. As the fashion show began, it became abundantly clear that those who had entered had not limited themselves in the slightest. Burlap sacks, tin cans, and cardboard boxes were some of the things that participants used to craft their unusual garments, taking the concept of sustainable fashion to a new level.
Although the art and furniture competition winners were split into three age groups, the fashion show divvied up its three prizes between three winners of any age. In both competitions, the diversity of the entries made it incredibly difficult for the judges to narrow down their winning selections, but by the end of the evening a consensus had been reached.
The fashion show winners were announced first. June Palacios won the first place prize of $100 with her La-Croix box crown and skirt made out of cans, a design that she aptly called “The Can Queen.” Duo Tracey and Effie Reed took the second place $75 prize in a colorful design called “Breaking Bread”, and the third place $50 prize went to Amy Lusson for her marigold hoop-skirt outfit.
The upcycle competition winners were up next, and in the 7 and under division, the two winners of the $50 prize were Elias Cunningham with his “wonky dog” sculpture, and Emma with her recycled boat.
The children’s 8-12 division had three winners- “Super-speed sled” by Silas Ocean, “Bicycle Creature” by Kylash, and “Turtle on a Rock” by Fuego Palacios. Each of these winners took home a $100 prize.
The 13 and up division had the most entries by far, but still only three winners were selected. The third place $50 prize went to “Rainbow Barbecue” by Jason Jermain, a functional solar-powered barbecue made from a satellite dish, compact discs, and several other components. The second place $75 award was won by Shapour Mizai’s metal excavator sculpture, which had several moving parts. Finally, the first place $100 prize was won by Steve Delaire for his “Daisy” sculpture, an interactive musical instrument. When asked why he chose this name for the piece, Delaire replied that when the components were turned, they played the first ten bars of the song “Daisy Bell” from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Alicia Ocean, the market manager, stated that she was very impressed by the turnout for the competition, and hopes that this means that even more inspiring and innovative creations will be brought to life in the years to come.