All images and content copyright Patricia M. Heimerl. All rights reserved.

In 2010, I answered a Call for Artists from The ReBuilding Center in Portland, OR. They invited artists to come in and pick out a door to turn into a piece of art for the "Open the Door to Sustainability" auction fundraising event, with all proceeds benefiting The ReBuilding Center.

They chose the door theme because of some surprising salvage that came into their possession. When going through the material they came across an unusual door with a carving attached to the front, a skillfully rendered image of a salmon swimming upstream. Careful research revealed that the carving was by LeRoy Setziol, a well-known local woodcarver. That beautiful door was the inspiration for the event's theme, and was showcased at the auction.

I found some plantation shutters to use as my "doors" and took them from plain Jane to a free-standing screen with a message. It is completely covered with recycled used tea bags that I took apart, emptied, and ironed flat. After attaching them to freezer paper, I inkjet printed quotes about sustainability and some images of gingko leaves on most of them. Then I completely covered the louvers by attaching the tea bags in a way that left them free to flutter in the breeze or when someone walks by.
2010 Project for the
"Open the Door to Sustainability"
Auction Fundraiser to benefit The ReBuilding Center

Sustainability Screen, mixed media
Each panel measures 55"h x 24"w. They are made from recycled plantation shutters, with over 400 recycled tea bags attached to the slats. Most of the tea bags have either a gingko leaf or a quote about sustainability inkjet printed on them. A few were left blank for aesthetic reasons. The shutters have been fixed in the closed position to prevent wear and tear.
Materials used:
-  Reclaimed plantation shutters from The ReBuilding Center
-  Very Low-VOC Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 water-based primer
-  No-VOC Olympic interior satin latex paint
-  Recycled used tea bags

Shutters as found at The Rebuilding Center
Concept and Design phase - digital mock-up
Digital mock-up of final concept and design
Printed tea bags and paint choices
Sustainability quote printed on tea bag
Gingko leaf image printed on tea bag
Painting the shutters
Working out how to attach the tea bags
Ready to attach tea bags to the louvers
Making good progress
Detail of louvers covered with tea bags
Finished free-standing 3-panel Sustainability Screen