Eco Trash Couture

Click Each Image Below
To View Project Details

The Rise Above Plastics Cape

The Rise Above Plastics Cape was created in collaboration with the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. It was made over the course of 2019 at public workshops where members of the public used a needle to thread straws onto a string that Nancy then attached to the Cape. The workshops took place at:

  • The Oregon Capital in conjunction with the Rise Above Plastics Day at the legislature, during the day 300 students learned about the problems with plastics in the ocean, took a pledge to stop using single use plastics and then helped string the straws for the cape.
  • Screening of the film RiverBlue hosted by the Portland Chapter of Surfrider, where Nancy also served on a panel that explored the social and environmental impacts of our clothing.
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – “Nights at the Museum”
  • World Rivers Day at the Oregon Zoo
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – “Science Pub Series”

The Cape was created to inspire people to eliminate or reduce single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, to-go containers/cup tops, and condiment packets. Please consider taking a pledge to reduce single use plastics in your life here.

The straws were donated to the project by the Portland Convention Center and Vibrant Table Catering. Many food service businesses were left with a huge stock of straws after committing to offer straws only upon request as part of Portland, Oregon’s Single-use plastics reduction policy.

This project is supported in part by a project grant from the Portland Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Citrus Lace Dress

This sculpture, made from orange peels, brings attention to the issues of food waste recovery, composting and buying organic produce.

The dress is fashioned out of several layers of “lace” made from upcycled cheese-cloth decorated with “sequins” cut from citrus peels. The design of the dress is inspired by fashions from the 1900’s belle époque period and the lace pattern is based upon a dress belonging to Nancy’s great-grandmother. The entire piece including the thread, will be entirely biodegradable.

According to a 2017 Natural Resources Defense Council report, 40% of the food we produce in the United States is thrown away. At the same time, 42 million Americans face food insecurity- less than 1/3 of  the food we discard would be enough to feed this population.

This sculpture was created in Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity trainings offered through Live Oak Consulting, a Native owned business, and facilitated by Deana Dartt, PhD and Nancy Judd. It examines the many privileges that non-native people have that are often invisible.

Native peoples who have lived in North America for thousands of years cared meticulously for the Earth. Settlers, not so much. In fact, non-Native ideas and attitudes about unlimited wealth and waste have fueled a crisis that affects us all.

The same people who settled and exploited the land have ignored the people who had cared for it and simultaneously benefited through unexamined privilege.

This suit is fashioned after one worn by Nancy’s grandfather, while working as the Treasure of Standard Oil, who profited from some of the many Settler Privileges written between the lines of this suit. These sometimes very subtle benefits are reserved for those who have historically and continue today to benefit from the erasure and land theft of Indigenous people. Examples include the following (we request that you speak them and feel the weight of them):

  • I do not worry that when I die my language will die with me;
  • I am not confronted with comments that express surprise that my group is still living;
  • I am never asked to prove my legitimacy based on government-imposed definitions of blood quantum” and identity;
  • My ethnic group is usually represented in the media and statistical findings.
  • Images, symbols, or names of people of my ethnicity are not used as sports mascots, Halloween costumes, or marketing logos.

The Price of Fashion

Exploring the social and environmental cost of our clothing.

This collection of three garments was created in 2016 for Eco-Fashion Week in Seattle, WA. Old, ripped, torn and cast off clothing was deconstructed, cut up and resewn together. Nancy’s research for the project included a 5-part blog post that explores the true costs to people and the planet of our clothing. This collection is available as a runway performance art piece, or a classroom presentation, click here for more details.


PDX Weather Advisory

Celebrating Sustainability (and rainy weather) at the Portland Airport!

The Port of Portland which runs the Portland International Airport commissioned me to create this ensemble in 2016. Each part of the rain gear outfit (a nod to Portland’s notoriously wet climate) represents one of the Port’s five sustainability programs, and is made from waste materials upcycled from each of those programs.

You can learn more about what each component is made of and the process of creating the piece in this blog post.

The Trash Man’s Suit

The Trash Suit was commissioned in 2016 by Rob Greenfield during an “eco-stunt”, where he wore his trash for 30 days! It is made of clear plastic film that was sewn onto a pair of military pants and a coat supported by an old back pack frame.  See photos of the suit filling up over the month in Rob’s “Trash Me Time Line”.

Read more about my experience making the suit and working with Rob in this blog post.

Watch a video Rob’s team made about my process creating the Trash Suit.



A Celebration of the Seashore!

This sculpture was created to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of Cascade Head Preserve on the Oregon Coast. It is made of natural items found along the seashore such as shells, driftwood, rocks, salmon teeth, fins and vertebrae that are strung onto wire and secured to a metal skirt made from upcycled baking sheets. The bodice is made from moss, lichens and bark sewn to burlap with old fishing line.

Pacifica was commissioned by the Nature Conservancy of Oregon in 2016.

You can read details about the creation of Pacifica in this blog post.


A Bride on a Mission!

This sculpture is made from discarded plastic Tyvek® (used in sterilization pouches and bags for the medical industry) that was cut into strips and sewn to the dress. The flowers were made primarily by people attending medical industry conferences across the US in 2016. Bella’s goal is to bring awareness to the recyclablity of Tyvek®, and inspire the creation of recycling programs for this plastic film.

Commissioned by Beacon Converters in 2016.

Read this blog post to learn more about the creation and mission of Bella.


Created from a picnic basket, a vintage dress, plants collected at the Conservancy’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, and dried flowers from the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

One morning while creating this dress, I awoke with the following poem in my head.

More and more, the spirits of the land
felt forgotten by humans,
and before they disappeared altogether
they decided to make themselves seen.
So branches, flowers and seeds
wove themselves together
and created a sprite to say:

As you pollute the air, the water, the soil,
as you cause plants and animals to die away
as you change the very earth itself
While you live your lives–
dancing, working, singing, loving, praying–
remember our wildness in yourselves!

Nancy Judd, 2013

Watch this short video and read the blog post about creating Opal to see more photos and learn details about how this piece came to be.

Kevin and Jennifer Box purchased Opal and have generously loaned her to me to display in public locations to spread her word of environmental stewardship.



Sol Man

This sculpture was created during a Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship through the National Audubon Society in 2013. The project entailed creating a new piece  based on an energy conservation educational program for 6th grade students at Ortiz Middle School in Santa Fe, NM.

The project had 4 parts:

Part 1. An energy curriculum was presented for 3 weeks to 6th graders in Ms. Sommer’s Science Class. The curriculum included how energy is created; the pros and cons of different energy sources; and how to conserve it. Homework assignments were to implement energy conservation actions in their homes using kits donated to each student by PNM.

Part 2. Nancy worked with the 6th Grade Art Class to design an “energy conservation” superhero costume.

Part 3. The Consumer Sciences Class helped her to construct the cape for the costume. It is made from energy conservation scrap materials from the Energy Smart Academy at the Community College. It sits on a pedestal that is an old solar cell.

Part 4. The completed costume was displayed in prominent public locations around Santa Fe and Albuquerque and is on permanent display at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Read the blog post with additional photos and project details!

Thank you to the following collaborators that made this project possible!

  • Toyota funded the fellowship that I received.
  • The National Audubon Society administered the fellowship.
  • The Santa Fe Public Schools (Lisa Randal, Ellen Levy, Amy Summa) provided project coordination.
  • Erika Sommer, Ed Chacon and Myoko Costello graciously invited me into their classrooms.
  • PNM (Melissa Leymon) donated the curriculum and energy efficiency kits and helped with planning.
  • The Santa Fe Community College’s New Mexico Energy$mart Academy (Amanda Evans) supplied educational materials to the science class as well as materials to create the Sol Man.
  • The City of Santa Fe, Sustainable Santa Fe program (Katherine Mortimer) provided project support.
  • Summit Electric Supply (Mike Prada) donated 100 CFL bulbs.
  • Santa Fe Place Mall (Lance Farrell) donated space to display the Sol Man for 2 months and event planning and refreshments for the opening reception.
  • Target supplied refreshments for the opening reception.
  • KHFM (Kathleen King and Dana Childs) Radio Station advertised the event and did several interviews.
  • Santa Fe New Mexican (Robert Knott and Jane Roberts) wrote about and photographed the classroom portion of the project.
  • Santa Fe Reporter (Enrique Limón) wrote about and photographed the Sol Man.
  • Dan Radven welded the legs, arms, armature and base.
  • Nicole Morris assured the musculature was correct.
  • Elizabeth Baker captured the project on film.
  • Positive Energy (Regina Wheeler, Allan Sindelar) supplied the old solar cell that is the base for the sculpture.
  • Carl Rosenthal provided many materials used to make the Sol Man.
  • Jim and Marj Mullany provided window insulation used to create his suit.
  • Los Alamos National Bank (Kate Kennedy) is helping to fund displaying of the Sol Man over the next year.
  • Earth Care International (BJ Davis, Rose Griego) is my non-profit fiscal sponsor accepting funds for the display of the Sol Man.