Designer wears her message on her sleeve

Eastern ProgressMarch 5, 2014
The Eastern Progress

Read the article and see photos on line.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but it can also be the foundation for recycled art, such as the creations made by Nancy Judd.

Alice Jones, professor of geography and geology, introduced the featured speaker, Nancy Judd. After seeing Judd’s work displayed at the Atlanta airport, Jones wanted to know more about her intricate projects.

“She really understands the feeling of recycling in her work,” Jones said. “Judd understands the benefits of using recycled objects and the less appealing parts of digging through trash to find the items.”

Through her eco-work, Nancy Judd says her target audience is not restricted to one specific age group. Judd wants to teach her eco-work to the general population, but this can be difficult to do in such a wide range of age groups in different cultural areas.

“I have to find creative ways to engage the public,” Judd said.

Judd began showing images of her eco-work she has designed. She first showed a piece she called “Crime Scene” which depicted a dress made out of caution tape. Through this dress, Judd wanted to reflect numerous themes. Not only did she want to convey the body and power of a woman but she also used the color of the caution tape to her advantage.

The shocking color brings attention to what the dress is made of and defines Judd’s message of the close connection between the planet and the human body, she said. She stressed that what humans do to the planet is reflected back upon them, such as clothes reflect a person.

Using the strong connection people have with fashion, Judd said she found her creative way to engage the general public in her environmental message. Connecting to her audience through fashion, Judd was able to bring up the heavy and depressing issues about the environment no one wants to mention, she said.

Judd began designing more pieces using upcycled materials, such as her “Junk Mail Fan Dress.” For all of her dresses, Judd tries to use 99 percent reclaimed materials and spends up to 400 hours creating each piece.

To put into perspective the amount of material and energy used to create common materials, Judd discussed the process that goes into making junk mail.

All paper materials begin as part of a tree that is cut down and sent to be processed into a pulp. The pulp is then sent to a company that processes the pulp into paper, which is then sent to a printing company, then the post office and, finally to homes across the country.

Not only is the process extensive, but it also causes pollution and energy usage that further effects the environment for paper alone. Out of the junk mail that is produced, 44 percent of the mail is never opened while only 35 percent is recycled.

Judd’s message and presentations of environmental awareness is not just to earn money, but is her life’s passion.

“I’m not an academic, but a lot of what I talk about is personal to me,” Judd said.

Judd has always been accustomed to art, because her mom owned an art gallery when she was young, she said. While in college, Judd said she decided to take a break and go to art school to indulge her love of the arts. She began recycling programs in numerous areas, making her cause realistic.

“Fighting for something gave me hope and hope is always important to have,” Judd said.

Judd’s career is based on entrepreneurship with her creativity. She has been able to live comfortably while doing museum exhibitions, airport exhibitions, sculpture commissions and speeches. Judd pushes for originality and passion for those who want to have their own business.

“Small businesses are an important part of our culture,” Judd said.

Judd concluded her presentation with additional pictures of her work, including a piece called “A Picnic for the Planet” she created for a Nature Conservancy fundraiser. Her dress was created from a picnic basket with the addition of an old 1950s style dress, twigs and wings made out of additional material found in the forest.

The dress reminded her of a sprite, a mythological creature, she said. The imagery of the creature moved her to write a poem about the deterioration of the environmental condition. Her poem left a haunting tone when she took on the persona of a sprite and simply read, “Don’t forget us” at the conclusion of her lecture.

Judd’s presentation helped to inspire some students in the audience.

“I’m also a recycler. It’s good to see others get involved in interesting, new and unique ways,” said Dalton Gerchak, 18, a freshman broadcasting and electronic media major from Wilmington, Ohio.

“I’m a recycling freak and her work was an inspiration,” said Angela Fuller, 18, a freshman dietetics major from Wilmington, Ohio.

The upcoming Chautauqua lecture entitled On Beauty and Sublimity: You Can’t Taste The Candy Bar If It’s Always In Your Mouth, will feature Tori McClure, the president of Spalding University.


The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday March 20, in Brock Auditorium, Coates Building.