Shuksan Middle School students make art from landfill-bound textiles for May 4 Children’s Art Walk

April 23, 2018

After learning about the environmental concerns surrounding waste and landfills, Shuksan Middle School sixth- and seventh-grade students are exploring waste reduction practices by creating art pieces made from discarded textiles to enter into Allied Arts’ 18th annual Children’s Art Walk.

At a workshop led by RE Sources’ Sustainable Schools Program, with funding from ReUse Works and the Whatcom County Health Department, students brainstormed ways to divert materials from landfills such as repairing broken items, reusing water bottles, recycling, and upcycling — making something of higher value out of discarded materials.

Students of Carolyn Heywood, Shuksan Middle School art teacher, took action by upcycling textiles into their own artwork. Some students are also using discarded bicycle tire inner tubes in their works.

“As we continue to learn about the consequences of wasteful habits, it’s vital that students begin to incorporate waste reduction practices into their lives. And upcycling is an interesting, creative, and fun way to achieve that,” said Sasha Savoian, Sustainable Schools Education Specialist.

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, 85 percent of textiles consumed by Americans go to the landfill — a staggering 21 billion pounds every year. Many textiles are made with synthetic materials derived from petroleum products, which take decades or longer to decompose in a landfill.

The students’ pieces will be unveiled on May 4 during Allied Arts’ gallery walk at Goat Mountain Pizza in downtown Bellingham from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Art remains on display at Goat Mountain Pizza through May 19th.

Media Contact: Sasha Savoian, Sustainable Schools Education Specialist,,  (360) 733-8307 ext. 226