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Jaynie Crimmins: A Dive Into Recycled Art

Photo of Jaynie Crimmins
Jaynie Crimmins. Photo courtesy of Taos Tintype.

New York City-based artist Jaynie Crimmins redefines repurposing in her art, transforming everyday materials into captivating pieces. 

Inspired by her Eastern European heritage, where repurposing was a way of life, Crimmins’ work blends craft traditions with a strong environmental ethos. Her process involves shredding and reassembling junk mail and catalogs, a nod to her commitment to upcycling difficult-to-recycle materials. 

Crimmins’ work is currently on display in the group show “You Know What You Know.”

Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #15
Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #15, 2023, Shredded Patagonia catalog, safety envelopes, promotional mail, thread, over armature, framed, 12 × 12 in.
Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #1
Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #1, 2019, Shredded Patagonia catalog, security envelopes, promotional mail, thread, over armature, framed, 12 × 12 in.

Jaynie, what was it like working with curator Christina Massey on this show?

Jaynie Crimmins: I am so lucky to have worked with Christina in the past. Christina has a clearly defined and articulated concept when she is curating.

How is your work split between the two spaces? Christina mentioned that each location features a different series, where color palettes and forms change from one location to another.

Jaynie Crimmins: The work at KUNSTRAUM is from my project called “In Search of Beauty” (ISOB), and the work at Space776 is from the series “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” (AFGTGL). AFGTGL’s palette was created from Restoration Hardware catalogs, earth-toned colors, and used domed forms and wood as armatures. ISOB began pre-pandemic and was finished in 2021. The palette originates from mixed source materials and uses various colors. The armatures of this work are architectural details.

I want viewers to interact with the surfaces of my work in various ways, including touching my work if it is not framed.

Craft traditions and environmentally friendly practices inform your work—you shred junk mail to create objects of art. Can you pick a piece from the show and tell us what the creation process was like?

Jaynie Crimmins: In Search of Beauty #11 was created using a diamond-cut shredder. I shredded catalogs, magazines, and security envelopes and manipulated the shreds in various ways—rolling, folding, and sewing. Rolling is done with my non-dominant (right) hand, and then individual rolls are placed on a support one by one with a tweezer using my left hand, applying an archival adhesive called Lineco. It is a painstaking and meditative process.

Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #11
Jaynie Crimmins In Search of Beauty #11, 2020, Shredded travel and leisure catalogs, security envelopes, thread over armature, 18 round × 2in deep. Right: detail.

You’ve done process workshops for kids and families at Chashama in Brooklyn. What is the experience like sharing your practice with kids?

Jaynie Crimmins: Working with kids in a short workshop setting is not as much about sharing the process as it is about sharing the materials, thinking about recycling, upcycling and exploring the various ways that magazines and catalogs can be modified. Do you want to use the images or create something more abstract? Do you want to start with all the same shapes?

What would you like the viewer to see in your work?

Jaynie Crimmins: I want viewers to interact with the surfaces of my work in various ways, including touching my work if it is not framed. My work is very personal to me, so hopefully there would be something there that resonates for others as well.

If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Jaynie Crimmins: Believe in yourself and your work.

“You Know What You Know” is held at both Space776 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and at the KUNSTRAUM gallery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The exhibition is on view until January 28 at KUNSTRAUM and January 31 at Space776.

KUNSTRAUM
Dates: Jan 10–28, 2024
Closing Reception: Sunday, Jan 28, 4–6pm
Gallery hours: Sat–Mon, 2–6pm
Location: 20 Grand Ave, loft 509, Brooklyn

Space776
Dates: Jan 17–31, 2024
Artist Talk: Friday, Jan 26, 5–6pm
Gallery Hours: Tues–Sun, 12–6pm
Location: 37–39 Clinton Street, NYC

For more information, visit the gallery’s website.

Installation view of You Know What You Know at Space 667
Installation view of You Know What You Know at Space667. Image courtesy of Garland Quek.