Does your newly renovated loft apartment lack the sense of history an antique mantel brings? Wish your headboard looked a little bit more like a shotgun house? If so, you're in luck. The Green Project's Salvations fundraiser is underway: More than 40 local artists created 65 pieces of custom furniture and lighting using salvaged items. The pieces will be auctioned off Saturday, Sept. 14 at "a gorgeously green gala spotlighting stunning sustainability," says Christal White, development director for The Green Project, a nonprofit company that sells recycled building materials. Here's a preview of the items and information about the cause.
Why was this event created?
To show construction materials in a different light. To ... turn castoffs into must-haves. And to showcase the creativity [of] talented local artists who ... offer alternatives to dumping usable objects. We want people to walk through the exhibit and wonder, "Why didn't I think of that? I have some of those same things in the shed and didn't know what to do with them!" and "I might be able to make something like that, too!"
Tell us about The Green Project's mission.
The Green Project’s mission is to develop a culture of creative reuse by building a marketplace for reclaimed materials and cultivating a respect for their value. Our warehouse store diverts an average of six tons of usable materials from landfills each day, keeps 40,000 gallons of paint from finding our marshes and lakes annually and prevents greenhouse gases from being produced.
How are designers selected to participate? What does the jury look for?
We have a call for artists each year and we invite back the artists from previous years. The jury looks for creativity and inventiveness with reclaimed materials, unexpected alternative new lives for old castoff items, fine woodworking craftsmanship, design, aesthetic, form and functionality.
Do you know of the stories behind any of the pieces… what they used to be in a former life?
Every piece has a story! Some clearly wear their stories on their sleeves and some hide their former lives. We've got Travis Linde's Ford Bench with bumpers, a truck tailgate and a license plate. There's Steve Savoye's Shotgun House bed made from reclaimed cypress, corbels, wrought iron and glass. ... There's an industrial light forged from medical school waste culled from a dumpster. Tim Carroll ... found barge board in a dumpster and transformed it into a traditional porch swing, a quintessential little slice of New Orleans.
I think New Orleanians have a special relationship with salvaged items, due to our love of history, our experiences with hurricanes' destruction and our propensity to pick things up from the curb. Is this something you've noticed?
Without a doubt. New Orleanians are all intrinsically collectors and storytellers. Those two things are intertwined and evident throughout Salvations. Every single item used is imbued with history.
The pieces range from $200 and up, generally. Our winners are all live-auctioned at the end of the evening. We have silent bidding on all of the other pieces. It is necessary to be at the auction to bid on the pieces, although we do have buy-it-now pricing released the day of the gala, for those who can't make it or stay through the entire event.
Tickets for the gala auction, which takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 and is hosted by The Shops at Canal Place (333 Canal St.), are on sale now ($60 for members, $75 for nonmembers), and bidding is open. There will be food from 18 vendors, craft cocktails from Sailor Jerry and Abita Brewing Company, live music by Small Batch String Band and Linnzi Zaorski, and comedy by The New Movement.