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March 9, 2009

The practice of recycling is charged with philosophy, aesthetic sensibility, economic necessity, political expediency, financial choice. And fun.

At one time, users of the Saguache County landfill segregated the trash they left to make for easy scrounging. Recycling happens in the alleys and at garage sales, Caring & Sharing, used clothing and furniture shops, antique shops, the Mountain Mail classifieds.

Recycling has long been a practice of artists, and not just re-using canvases.

As Salida artist Roberta Smith says, “Old books, papers and objects fascinate me in the way that old people do: they become richer and more fully realized with the passage of time, bearing visible traces of their pasts.”

Roberta Smith will join Jimmy Descant and Shark for “Three Artists Recycle,” a presentation sponsored by Arts at the Library and Central Colorado Humanists this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the library.

Jimmy Descant, who moved to Salida from New Orleans a couple of years ago, is widely know as the Rocketman because of his Flash Gordon-like sculptures, but his sculpture ranges far beyond rocketships. He takes found vintage objects, deconstructs and then reconstructs into “peaceful space vehicles and thought provoking reliefs.”

Jimmy says, “Unlike my cool colleague Shark, I don’t do any welding in my work. I find parts from thrift stores and flea markets that fit seamlessly, and bolt them all together.”

I couldn’t reach Shark by press time, but I did find out he is a blacksmith by the name of Christopher Lambdin. The rest you’ll have to find out Sunday.

I like Roberta Smith’s take on this kind of recycling: “Collecting neglected yet venerable discards and incorporating them with my drawings, paintings and prints in order to endow them with new life and meaning based upon my own experience and understanding is my way of not only recycling, but “re-membering.”

She also sums up the fundamental attraction in old things: “They acquire unexpected secrets, mysteries and stories that I see as more vital than those endowed upon them when they were new.”

Please join us Sunday to hear three artists discuss how they look at making things out of things that are already made.

On the subject of recycling, a new book edited by Colorado author Laura Pritchett, “Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers,” will include essays by a few local authors. It will be published in May. Stay tuned.

At first glance, it might seem that “recycling” doesn’t apply to our digital world, but in fact it does. Recycling digital content is the major legal issue today in the digitally networked part of our world, and an awkward one.

Here is some important news about the library’s digital offerings. In fact, it affects only a few of you. Notice: Downloadable audiobooks will temporarily be unavailable through the library.

This service has a few core users, but it’s a cumbersome thing that has turned many potential users away in frustration. We’ve had enough users that we’ve continued to subscribe each year, even though it’s relatively costly for the amount of use.

Now, the service insists we renew at twice the price on the promise of a new downloading system plus the promise of audiobooks that will work on iPods.

After several years of unfulfilled promises from the audiobook industry, I think it’s time for us to wait and see. Please feel free to talk with me about this.


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