Exhibit highlights new uses for old items

A new exhibit in the Cesar Chavez Student Center highlights the problem of waste, particularly textile waste, by showing the possibilities of using discarded material in new and unique ways.

"Upcycling," curated by Associate Professor of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics Connie Ulasewicz and student and gallery manager Carolyn Ho, features the work of students from apparel design and merchandising and interior design. The students used a variety of discarded materials such as tablecloths, plastic hangers and even old subway cards to create garments, tables, lights and other household items. The exhibit is on display in The Art Gallery in the Cesar Chavez Student Center through April 22, Earth Day.

A photo of a dress that is part of the

A dress made from reused shopping bags, boxes, maps, pins and other materials, as well as a necklace made from old subway tickets, is on display in The Art Gallery in the Cesar Chavez Student Center during the "Upcycling" exhibit.

"In the San Francisco Bay Area, we use textiles every day, but they are not automatically thought of as something we can reuse or recycle," Ulasewicz said. "There are no bins for recycling textiles. There are bins for paper, plastic and cans, but not textiles."

Textiles include sheets, towels, handkerchiefs, jackets, socks, hats, paper, wood and more, and Americans discard an estimated 68 pounds of it per person, per year. Ulasewicz said her mission is to reduce this waste by showing people how they can reuse more.

In addition to the students' work, the exhibit also features a pair of interactive displays. The first, "Swap Rack," invites visitors to swap a clothing or accessory item they no longer want for another item in the display. In the other, "Bit by Bit," visitors can use provided recycled materials to create a new garment to put on the mannequin that greets people as they walk into the art gallery.

"We're trying to extend this to become part of people's daily lives," Ulasewicz said. "We're letting people understand the process of recreating. It's fun. You start something and someone else can recreate it."

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Departments of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics' apparel design and merchandising and interior design programs. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located on the Terrace Level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. For more information, visit the gallery's website.

 photo of two dresses that are part of the

Two dresses made from recycled table cloths are on display as part of the "Upcycling" exhibit in The Art Gallery in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The table in the middle is also made of reused materials.


A photo of a mannequin with garments made by visitors to the

The "Upcycling" exhibit features an interactive display where visitors can use old materials (right) to create a new garment for the mannequin at left.

-- Jonathan Morales