Why did you make the sculpture?
I created Trashasaurus Rex to protest a 1990 Federal Court decision in which the judge ruled that the State of Indiana couldn't keep haulers from other states from transporting trash to Indiana and depositing it in our landfills. Many of our landfills are full, and siting new ones is difficult, because people don't want the facilities built near their homes. I wanted to make our citizens aware of the landfill crisis in Indiana, and encourage them to recycle. If more people recycled, we wouldn't need so many landfills!
Kids love dinosaurs, and I wanted the sculpture to appeal to children. Since it's easier to form new habits than it is to break old ones, I thought I would be more successful in encouraging recycling by appealing to this age group. In addition, we all know dinosaurs are extinct, so I was trying to warn people that we'd better mend our "trashy ways" before it's too late for us!
Trashasaurus is most like an Apatosaurus, formerly known as a Brontosaurus. I used the shape of the Apatosaurus, and then I just created the rest of the dinosaur using my imagination.
Since Trashasaurus is a make-believe creature, I was free to make the dinosaur any way I wanted. When I began, I didn't intend to use so many gloves and mittens. Before long, however, friends and neighbors were stopping by to bring me their old or mismatched gloves and mittens to add to the sculpture. Running them down the back was a perfect way to show them off.
They help give the dinosaur real support and make the sculpture more stable. Also, the boots were old and worn, so I recycled them in the sculpture. They were donated by my Uncle Glenn who was a farmer.
I wanted the base to resemble grass. Finding trash which was mostly green was a real challenge, but it was fun. Our recycling center even donated an old Vermont street sign. Vermont is "The Green Mountain State," of course!
I started the sculpture in February in our garage. When warmer weather came, I pulled the dinosaur out onto the driveway. Neighbors and people just walking or driving by stopped to see what I was making. Soon they began bringing me broken watches, toys, and other things that would normally go to the landfill. When Trashasaurus was finished, people enjoyed looking for the items they had donated.
It took about eight months to create Trashasaurus Rex. My husband and son built a stick figure out of lumber, and then I formed the chicken wire framework around it. On Earth Day in April, some of my students came by to help. Nathan, Ethan, David, Katie, and Sarah helped glue the first two layers of papier mache. Four more layers followed, and then I began gluing all the trash on the dinosaur. Two hundred glue sticks and six months later, Trashasaurus was finished!
It took a long time to glue all the solid waste onto the dinosaur, but I made a game out of it by trying to make jokes, visual puns and symbols on the sculpture. For example, I placed "worry people" on the dinosaur's tail, and one of them is carrying a sign which reads "Recycle, the end is near!" There are two Halloween masks with wiggle eyes glued to the back of his head, so that Trashasaurus could have "eyes in the back of his head." The fifty gloves and mittens running down his back symbolize the idea that all of us in the United States are responsible for the solid waste problem, and we must work together to find solutions.
The dinosaur made his first public appearance before thousands of people when he rode in a parade in October, 1992. Trashasaurus won First Place for a non-commercial entry! In 1993, the sculpture was entered in an art show, and it was displayed at an Earth Day festival. In April, Trashasaurus and I participated in the first Kids World Conference on the Environment held in Orlando, Florida and sponsored by Nickelodeon, the children's television network. The dinosaur was displayed in the exhibit area, and he appeared on television with some kids from Nickelodeon who discussed the importance of recycling. Vice-President Al Gore viewed the exhibits, and he was interviewed by newswoman Linda Ellerbee and kids from around the world.
|Trashasaurus Rex Travels to East Coast|
|In honor of the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day, we are pleased to announce the donation of Trashasaurus Rex to the Rocky Mount Children's Museum of North Carolina. The museum, which was devastated by floods caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, has relocated to a new site and rebuilding its collection.|
|Since first offering the dinosaur for adoption, we received inquiries from throughout the United States. Many requests came from solid waste facilities, parks, museums, and other educational institutions. After reading of RMCM's need to start a new museum, however, we decided that the beautiful state of North Carolina would make a good home for Trashasaurus.|
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