Making Art From Trash to Treasure

Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, of the nonprofit Washed Ashore, would love to be put out of business.

Pozzi creates sculptures out of garbage, mainly plastic, that’s washed up on Oregon beaches. Her art is exhibited at zoos and museums across the country. Pozzi’s studio is located in Bandon, Oregon.

Her latest installment will open at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium April 22 and run through October. The exhibit will feature 10 of Pozzi’s pieces, including a Weedy Seahorse.

“It’s really a way of using the arts as a powerful communication tool,” Pozzi said.

Once volunteers pick up garbage off the beaches, it takes about six months to construct one of the large pieces.

Washed Ashore has volunteers who gather debris from beaches on the Oregon coast.

It’s special for Pozzi to have her art exhibited in the South Sound, her first exhibit in Washington.

“It’s a worldwide problem and there’s plastic washing up on every beach and every shoreline everywhere around the world.”

A graduate of Olympia High School, Pozzi’s parents also were artists whose work is included in the Tacoma Art Museum collection. Her father was the director of the Washington State Arts Commission for 12 years. Her mother was a professional artist. Pozzi’s late husband, Craig Pozzi, also is in the TAM collection,

“Arts were my first language,” Pozzi said.

Through Washed Ashore, Pozzi has made about 70 pieces.

As far as where the idea came from, she lost her husband to a brain tumor. To cope with the trauma, Pozzi went to the Oregon coast.

“I decided the only way I could heal was to come to the ocean,” she said.

Taking her dog on walks along the coast, Pozzi noticed the trash on the shore.

“All I wanted to do was see the beauty … and then I just couldn’t ignore it anymore,” she said. “So I started doing the research and realized what a massive problem it is, it’s a worldwide problem and there’s plastic washing up on every beach and every shoreline everywhere around the world.”

Pozzi hopes her art is a conversation starter for people about the danger of ocean pollution and that it will inspire people to be smart consumers.

“Every action really does count,” Pozzi said.

is a staff writer at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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