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Jaynie crimmins - upcycled mandalas 

Upcycling paper art 

Crimmins_A Field Guide to Getting Lost_i

A Field Guide to Getting Lost #9

12” x 12” x 2”

shredded promotional mailings, thread, over armature 

mounted on wood framed in a shadowbox with museum glass


Jaynie Gillman Crimmins fabricates objects, with meticulous handmade details, by repurposing solicitations, safety envelopes, and catalogs that are difficult to recycle (because their inks have high concentrations of heavy metals). 

Her work explores consumerism and waste through a repetitive practice mirroring domestic tasks. Shredding these marketing tools breaks down their physical and ascribed composition so she can roll, fold, sew and fabricate the shreds into intimate sculptural reliefs.  

Crimmins was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives and works in Manhattan. 

Her work has been shown at ART on PAPER NYC; and exhibited at the Sharjah Museum of Art during the Islamic Arts Festival in the United Arab Emirates; SPRING/BREAK Art Show, NYC; Governor’s Island Art Fair, NYC; the National Museum of Romanian Literature in addition to museums throughout the United States including the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary, VA; Hunterdon Art Museum, NJ; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, GA. 

She has a long history of community work, currently volunteering in the Guggenheim Museum’s Learning Through Art Program [which is on hold during the pandemic].



Tell me something about you, how did you become a sustainable artist? 


Nothing seemed to make it into the trash in the apartment of my Eastern European grandparents. Discarded clothing became crocheted rugs. Old curtains became aprons. Leftovers became the ingredients for new meals. Nothing was wasted, everything possible was reused.  Castoff items became novel and compelling in their metamorphosis. 

Combining this sensibility with the shredding of junk mail illuminates the physical acts of deconstructing and repurposing. The power of transformation, frugality, ingenuity and handmade quality drive my practice.



Why do you think upcycling is important? 


Upcycling is important in reducing waste. While the world relies on everything digital, many companies continue to print and distribute catalogs. Free glossy publications are also continuing to be circulated. These are printed with metallic inks. 

When I began my current work in 2009, catalogs and magazines printed with these inks all ended up in landfills. The evolution of recycling has provided methods for breaking down some of these inks, yet many of the catalogs are still un-recyclable.

I upcycle to protect the environment and to bring awareness to the excess of materials used in marketing. My hope is that my work keeps a portion of these materials out of our waste stream.  The raw materials for my work replaces the use of manufactured papers and as I have discovered, the inks are pretty permanent, making the work archival.

Jaynie Crimmins_The Enlightenment must n

The Enlightenment must never bow to the Inquisition #16

10"x 10" x 2"D S

Shredded non-profit and political solicitations, health care statements as well as magazine articles highlighting issues to protect our freedoms


How do you create your designs?  


Prior to beginning my work, I review memories, images or collected natural objects from my wanderings, sketching directly onto an armature or a support's surface.  Most of the time during the process of creation, I intuitively change the direction of the pieces.  This can be a challenge, yet keeps the work interesting and fresh for me. My projects [series of pieces] are informed by books, current events, or a personal concern and take shape through my examination of their content.

My palette is derived from the colors of catalogs, solicitations and patterns of safety envelopes.  There is no specific form that defines my work although there are reoccurring motifs and shapes, particularly botanical, architectural and marine inspired.  

My work is VERY time consuming - I roll, fold and sew shredded mail.  Working on a larger piece can take months.  A series of works can take a year or so to create.  There are times when I start working on small pieces to stimulate my imagination. I keep these small elements.  At times they might be incorporated into new work, many times they just remain the way they are.


What is the message behind your art? What inspires you? 


 At first glance, the surface of my work may seem precious and decorative. Yet these surfaces contain thousands of tiny components, each containing a fragment of information or imagery from mass marketing tools promoting the constructs of beauty, wealth and taste. By physically dismantling and deconstructing these conventions, I rearrange the shreds as repeated elements in patterns inspired by plant forms, architectural details, and geometric applications of design -  advancing personal, domestic and cultural narratives..  



How can quarantine be a good moment for becoming more conscious and sustainable? 


Working from home, in a tiny apartment, has magnified the extent to which plastic is still used in packaging foods.  I always keep these plastic containers and packaging materials to use as storage containers for my shreds and small materials [i.e. spools of thread, needles, erasers, small amounts of adhesives]. 

The piles of junk mail, plastic containers, various cardboard boxes and other cardboard items inspire me to keep doing what I am doing.  My goal now, because of the quarantine, is to incorporate more of these materials into my work as armatures and surfaces.


In Search of Beauty #5

23” x 23” x 3”D 

Shredded MoMA Design Store catalogs, safety envelopes, promotional mail 

thread over armature



A Field Guide to Getting Lost, #1

12” x 12” x 8”D

Shredded promotional mailings, thread, over armature

mounted on wood


Crimmins_The Moment Matters_2018.jpg.jpe

The Moment Matters

12" x 12" x 8"D

Shredded non-profit and political solicitations, health care statements as well as magazine articles highlighting issues to protect our freedoms


Jaynie Crimmins_A Field Guide to Getting

A Field Guide to Getting Lost #5

12” x 12” x 8”D

Shredded promotional mailings, thread, over armature

mounted on wood


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