One Woman’s Trash

Another woman’s art supply.

Hannah March Sanders is a Cape Girardeau artist who focuses on environmental issues in her work. Also a professor of art at Southeast Missouri State University and area head of printmaking, as well as the letterpress area coordinator of Catapult Press at Catapult Creative House, Sanders uses upcycled and repurposed fabrics in her work. She gets the material from Goodwill, as well as from her own and her family members’ old clothes to make her pieces. She even uses the scraps of material that would otherwise go to waste from the woodcut prints she makes.

Sanders began using repurposed materials in her art out of necessity when she was an undergraduate student with a limited budget, and more purposefully during graduate school.

“One of my graduate professors always said if you have this stuff available to you, be creative and make art out of that,” she says. “Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy the best paper or the best ink to make your work, because it’s not as much about the materials as about how you use them.”


Photos by Kassi Jackson


Sanders’ latest series is a collaboration with her husband, Blake.

The series features crocheted upcycled fabrics with machine sewing, appliqué and snaps, site-responsive installations that can be displayed as rag rugs on floors or as wall hangings. Each piece links energy use with family life by using repurposed domestic materials and displaying on the piece a word that is environmental and domestic, such as “dependence/dependents,” “exhaust” and “spill.”

“People are always building a nest for themselves without thinking maybe of the impact of that on the greater world,” Sanders says of her and her husband’s project. “People either have this feeling that the environment isn’t getting worse, there is no climate change, or they have this feeling of, it’s happening but there’s nothing we can do about it. I feel like both of those are not productive. I think you have to recognize your own contribution to it and what you personally could do.”