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Design Students Reshape Rubbish,
Make Trashy Treasures

Date: Sept. 24, 2002
Story by: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Archive: General News
Photos by: Dottie Stover and Mary B. Reilly

Cincinnati - "Hey, where's the duct tape?

Can't we get this thing to stand up!?

We lost an eye, you know.

Hey, the head just fell off! Look, once we have the whole thing built, we can put the head back on."

It's obvious. As assignments go, the University of Cincinnati's newest design students felt they had a tiger by the tail on Sept. 24.

That first challenge: take a bunch of junk from home and school and create an animal. In UC's prestigious College of Design Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), that sent 400 new and transfer students to work creating the first-ever DAAP menagerie.

The students' species were formed from a smorgasbord of cast-offs: food packing, bottle caps and bottles, straws, typewriter cartridges, wire, tongue depressors, buttons, old sandals, old rug pieces, paper, burnt-out light bulbs, old garden tools, egg cartons, shells, CDs, hangers and much more. And their critter creations included crocodiles with bent-straw teeth eating fish fashioned from light bulbs; a penguin on skis; a rattler snake who indeed rattled thanks to tic-tacs in his tail; and a giraffe with a slinky for a neck. The total comes to about 80 animals in all.

This lobster was titled 'Bring Home the Butter' and was made by a group including Kim Passmore, Paul Bryant and John Ficker

"It was trash. Now, it's cute," said Emily Eisinger of Chevy Chase, Md., who plans to study interior design. Her group created an Energizer Bunny with a V-8 bottle body, a bottle-cap nose, cough-drop eyes, and "Hot Tamales" food box for ears. A small record became the drum surface played by tongue depressor drumsticks. Added Eisinger, "The best part is that none of us knew each other before. Now we do."

Students shaping a rattler snake with a compact make-up case head and a blade-of-grass tongue had a little help from others in the UC community. They worked out on the sidewalk in front of DAAP, perfectly positioned to cadge extra junk from passersby. They formed the snake's initial body layer from paper towels borrowed from a janitor and then further wrapped the form in electrical tape borrowed from a staffer in the information technology department.

Others used whatever was at hand. A group that included Stephanie Dallalio of Delhi (in Cincinnati) and Celina Castaneda of El Salvador grabbed a booklet of college course listings. Then, by hand, they finely shredded it to make realistically textured owl feathers. Said Dallalio, "The best part is having other people to help you, to bounce ideas off one another. You become more creative in the process." The hardest part, she added, was getting the owl to stand up on its garden aerator claws.

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