“Straw Bale” is an art piece is designed to raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution to the environment, specifically wildlife and watersheds. It takes the shape and dimensions of a traditional bale of straw, but is comprised completely of straws.

“Straw Bale” is play on words, a place to sit, a subject for conversation, and a marquee for needless waste.

“Straw Bale” can be placed anywhere and can work as a stand-alone project, but would be even more powerful when juxtaposed with a similar conscious-raising outdoor sculpture. For example, sitting on “Straw Bale” while pondering Phil Campbell’s “Giant Water Bottle” could strongly reinforce the message of plastic waste.

A common object used by almost everyone, the straw has numerous negative ecological impacts. Straws end up in our watershed systems, eventually circling the gyres of our oceans, ingested by creatures. In some instances, the plastic can become lodged in creatures’ orifices, and in general does great damage to the environment as plastic polymers never fully break down. 

The piece is designed to captivate the everyday person as they walk, run or bike along a river trail. Awareness of the wastefulness of straws can be driven home by this art piece, which also carries an element of whimsy and humor to it.The acquisition of the straws needed to finish the piece could include a public campaign that might lead to further awareness. Something like a Devour Downtown or Dig-IN event could be united with a “straw capture” campaign where local restaurants commit to capture all the straws in one day that would normally be thrown away. We collect the straws from that one-day capture to build “Straw Bale,” illuminating the massive amount of waste straws create on a daily basis. 

“Straw Bale” might inspire the viewer to “Refuse the Straw,” which is in fact a national movement to reduce plastic waste. “Straw Bale” might motivate one to join the “Refuse the Straw” or the Colorado-based “Be Straw Free” initiative. Accompanying social networking, media coverage and local interpretation would connect the viewer to these and other communities.

“Straw Bale” has the potential, then, to elicit a clear path of action.