Discarded and found objects are my starting point. I make sculpture from repurposed umbrellas and post-consumer plastic that I harvest from curbside recycling, garbage cans and the street. I find the colors intoxicating, I can’t resist collecting them and I usually go late at night while I walk my dog so I don’t draw attention to myself. The sheer volume of recyclables and broken umbrellas creates and endless and overwhelming supply of material. 

Back in the studio I process my finds by thoroughly cleaning them and removing all branding on the bottles and armatures from the umbrellas. Then I dissect these materials so that I can reconfigure them to make sculptures

The ease of assembly enables spontaneity and lends a playful quality to the work. The umbrellas become flags, pennants and banners. The bottles become dimensional sculptures with some shapes, organic clusters and others flat forms. These sculptures hang from the ceiling with fishing line—light and buoyant, they gently sway as viewers pass by. The largest pieces range from 3 to 10 feet tall, winding their way up concealed armature posts like synthetic, vibrantly colored beanstalks. Smaller works are suspended from the ceiling by a monofilament line, emphasizing the buoyancy of the material.

I seek to draw the viewer’s attention back to these discards—to take a moment to notice how wonderful they are. By bringing attention to those materials I also hope to suggest a humorous approach to the futility of mass consumption of material resources in contemporary life.

—Niki Lederer