Doing something good with trash

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A pristine piece of rope — almost a present — has been reworked and colored by artist Abigail Boroughs for the Beach Trash Art exhibit that opens Aug. 29 at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A set of fishing buoys from a friend is being transformed into an army of minions by Abigail Boroughs at her Kilauea studio.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TG!F

    Discarded plastic washed up on Kauai’s shorelines becomes part of a work in progress at Abigail Boroughs’ studio in Kilauea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TG!F While Abigail Borough’s friends fishing went for ahi, she fetched this metal buoy which was transformed into an alien craft at her Kilauea studio.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TG!F

    A carded set of earrings created by Kat Crabill from marine debris sits atop a promotional piece for the Beach Trash Art exhibit.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TG!F

    A crew of characters created from beach trash joins Abigail Boroughs’ collection in Kilauea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TG!F

    Abigail Boroughs shows off her “Flood” at her Kilauea studio.

Trash washes up on Kauai’s beaches daily, said Kilauea artist Abigail Boroughs.

“I’m doing something good with this trash,” Boroughs said. “Some of these pieces I’ve had for years, like this buffalo in the “Flood” piece. I’ve had that for a while, and when the floods happened, it just fit in.”

Boroughs will be joined by nine other artists in presenting the Beach Trash Art exhibit that opens on Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 4 at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery in Kukui Grove Center.

An artists’ reception will be held Aug. 31.

“The materials are humble, the subject matter important, and the message is simple,” Boroughs said. “We’re simply trying to find some good in the trash. I’ve invited other people who bring different perspectives to cleaning the beaches and doing something different.”

Joining Boroughs will be Rhonda Ballard, Doug Britt, Sharon Britt, Emma Chidgey, Kat Crabill, Nicole Miller, Tiki Morales, Sharon Rothschild and Jeremiah Ryan.

“I like the different stylings,” Boroughs said. “Like Kat Crabill of Nurdle in the Rough, who sets pieces of marine debris in silver. I wear her jewelry because I like it, but her message is beyond the jewelry and on her website. When you discover a piece and scroll over it, the original piece appears.”

A metal buoy is the result of a fishing trip with friends.

“They were all going for the fish,” she said. “I found the metal buoy. Another piece is from a big piece of rope that was pristine clean when I found it. It was almost like it was a present. I added the color, twisted it this way and that way, and the result is a wall hanging.”

Boroughs, who holds a master’s degree in book arts, said her greatest source of material is the weigh and sort center at the Surfrider Foundation debris storage area, where she finds items on every visit.

“I’ve got a stockpile of buoys,” she said. “And I love doing this. It might not have anything to do with books, but I have to do this. Some people are complacent about beach trash, but I love to work with this. I hope that what shows up motivates other people, and in seeing the pieces makes people relate to their own experiences.”

An example is the “Flood.”

“This just started out plain,” Boroughs said. “It was just sitting there at a gallery I was gallery-sitting at. I looked around at all that devastation from the floods, and I remembered the bison I had in my collection. A piece here, a piece there (from the actual flood debris), and it’s done.”

Examples of beach trash art surround the artist throughout the studio.

“I’m running out of room,” she said. “I had a friend give me a set of buoys which is going to be my army of minions.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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