San Francisco sculptor Jane Woolverton is a master recycler.
The artist, 83, — the oldest among dozens of Hunters Point Shipyard artists in seven buildings participating in the 25th annual Spring Open Studios this weekend — creates ethereal art from plastic six-pack beverage holders.
Knowing that people were concerned about their impact on the environment, she collected some in her studio.
“I wonder what you can do with them,” she thought. When it came to the point at which she had to get rid of them or do something, she painted acrylic on them and tied them together with thread, in curtainlike or panel configurations.
When she hung them on the wall, she liked the way light created a shadow.
Inspired by the atmosphere and nature, she continued, creating sculptures named after the seasons.
Today, she is represented by New Leaf Gallery/Sculpture Gallery in Sonoma (the former SculptureSite gallery on Third Street in The City moved and merged) where she shows her unique pieces.
Woolveton stays supplied in plastic from Vic’s, a friendly corner store on Mission Street. She says, “A man saves them for me. He’s delighted to do it. He was tired of cutting them up.”
Although she uses color masterfully, she is particularly pleased with “Winter Sun,” a 70-by-60-by-5-inch unpainted work made from plastic and fisherman’s monofilament line, dyed black in some places and left natural in others.
“That was an interesting piece to do,” she said, calling the effect “very exciting” as she tied the layers together.
Woolverton hasn’t always been a sculptor working in plastic.
She took up painting at Briarcliffe College in New York, creating a unique style using tempera and watercolor; the college bought one of her works. Woolverton briefly lived in Paris, and back in the U.S., she went to Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., where she sculpted in clay and stone. From 1957-60, she spent three “wonderful” years in India, painting and traveling.
She came to San Francisco in 1960, living in a $75-per-month apartment in North Beach, then moving to her current home in Bernal Heights, meanwhile taking classes at Fort Mason Art Center and College of Marin.
When she outgrew her small studio of 12 years on Third Street, she was happy to move to Hunters Point Shipyard Studios.
“I’m at the studio every afternoon, seven days a week,” she says, calling it a wonderful space — sometimes thriving with noise and people, and sometimes quiet: “It’s heavenly feeling.”
This weekend’s event, in addition to showcasing a variety of artwork (paintings, drawings, jewelry, metal arts, stone work, welded arts, photography, lithography, sculpture, ceramics and other media) also offers music, family activities and free valet bike parking on Sunday.
IF YOU GO
Shipyard Artists Spring Open Studios
Where: Hunters Point Shipyard, Innes Avenue and Donahue Street, S.F.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday