Skip to main content

February 17, 2023

Using fine art techniques and plastic bags, Alayna Reinke creates “One Stitch at a Time”

“One Stitch at a Time” by art student Alayna Reinke is one of three public sustainability sculptures newly installed outside the Fine Arts & Design Studios (FADS) building as part of the Fine Arts program’s sustainability sculpture project.

The 8-by-13-foot “quilt” is knitted  and crocheted from more than 1,200 plastic bags with two giant knitting needles carved from trees.

Reinke chose plastic bags because they’re a reminder that plastic is “ingrained in our society,” she says. “It takes forever to break down and when it does, it releases chemicals into the environment. But I also wanted to remind people that by working together as a community – like the squares of a quilt – we can change things.”

Real-life art experience balances techniques, planning, evaluation

"赌钱app可以微信提现’s art program is a great place to figure out your direction and find a group of people to connect with." Alayna R.

The idea of making a quilt from plastic bags came after collaborating with Mark Cowardin, Alayna's professor and co-chair of the Fine Arts, Photography and Film department. When he told Alayna about the opportunity to create and display public art on campus under the theme of sustainability, she decided to apply for it. She had crocheted plastic for a class assignment – her idea of the much larger project grew from that.

Alayna submitted a proposal and was one of three students chosen to create a public sustainability sculpture. According to Cowardin, students’ proposals included a budget, list of supplies and models.

“I like the idea of it resembling a quilt because it feels like a coming together of community for a bigger purpose,” Alayna says. “I also wanted to contrast a natural material like wood with a man-made material like plastic.”

Each of the six-foot-long needles is held up by a steel frame. Alayna says one of the needles started as a tree trunk. She removed the bark and used a chainsaw to shape it. She gathered plastic bags all summer from friends, family and fellow students and wove together plastic squares any free moment during the fall semester.

Finding her passions, friends and support at 赌钱app可以微信提现

“Much of what we do in the Fine Art program mimics what happens in the real art world,” says Cowardin. “We develop skills and concepts, craft our works, and then present them for critical evaluation, just like this sculpture project.”

Alayna is amazed she’s had the opportunity to create a public sculpture in just her second year of college. She’s received lots of positive feedback and says her teacher likes it, too, adding, “which is always a plus.”

Alayna is thankful for the Fine Arts program at 赌钱app可以微信提现. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she started College, but after taking a sculpture class, found the program to be very welcoming. “I’ve made a lot of friends through it,” she says. “Together, we’re figuring things out.”

The other two sustainability sculptures installed outside FADS are “Shifted Perspectives” by Gaylin Nicholson and “Capture the Wind” by Linda Gaulding. The sculptures should be up through the Fall 2023 semester.

Ready to take your creativity to the next level in college? Check out our Fine Arts programs that set you up for a future as an artist, or our Associate of Fine Arts degree, which can transfer to four-year schools.