Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect

D8E0588As part of their work for Thurston County, Carrie Ziegler and Jennifer Johnson teamed up in 2014 to create a unique art piece that educates about the waste and health concerns related to plastics. With the help of more than 600 Thurston County students, they created the large-scale art piece titled “Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect.” The public debut of the piece was at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, in Olympia, WA, from April 25 –  August 5.

Inspiration on the Wings of a Butterfly:

Ziegler noted that the inspiration for the piece and its title comes from The Butterfly Effect theory, which states that a small localized change in a complex system—like the beating of a butterfly’s wings—can have large, even spectacular effects elsewhere.

The piece uses hundreds of up-cycled plastic “butterflies” to form a person held inside a large chrysalis, with a swarm of butterflies emerging from the heart. “The intent is to show visually how each one of us makes choices every day that affect our health and our environment,”

The interaction with students went far beyond creating the components of the art piece. Students learned about important choices such as using glass or stainless steel water bottles, taking re-usable bags shopping, and heating food in non-plastic containers. Each lesson emphasized individual actions the students can take in their lives that create a “butterfly effect” of positive change in the world.

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