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© 2019 by Hilary Pfeifer. 

Lure (2016)

In 2016, I participated in the Glean artist's residency, where five Portland artists are allowed to pull art materials from our local Waste Transfer Station and use it to create a body of work. My installation of over 50 mobiles used an antique table, a nun's birth bed, a futon frame, pencils, a few clothespins, and a deconstructed piano.

Artist statement below images. Several mobiles are still available for purchase.

Statement: My first visit to the Recology Office was fortuitous—the six-foot caged cube, or mew, that sits to the west of the building was filled with five falcons. I’m a bird lover, but have always been partial to seed-eaters, or my most loved, the nimble hummingbird. I never really tried to understand raptors. Before entering the building for my Glean interview, I walked over to look at the birds, tethered to their perches, waiting for their work shifts. 

I soon learned that falconers were on site at the Metro Transfer Station several times a week, strategically being used to bring terror into the hearts of the trash-loving seagulls, pigeons and crows who would otherwise infiltrate the facility and make the job of waste sorting and transfer much more difficult. This kind of collaboration between humans and nature was exactly the kind of inspiration I was hoping to find for this residency.

After talking to a few of the falconers and researching online and literary sources, I found the object that would become the source for the body of work I would create during this six month residency. Falconers employ a lure when training their birds, which is a palm-sized object attached to a cord. The falconer swings the lure in a circular motion to call the bird and command its return.

The more common definition of the word lure also applies to my residency experience. The five artists accepted into the program are essentially asked to be ambassadors to the mission of Recology, Metro and crackedpots—how can an individual make a difference in reducing the waste headed to the landfill? I was able to create this body of work from discarded furniture, musical instruments and office supplies, which still held degrees of utility and didn’t need to be thrown away. 

I hope this show can lure at least one person into thinking about how garbage can be transformed through creative reuse.