Above: Abigail West touring Southern Mill with cellar operator and sustainability specialist, Jacob Yarbrough.
Big problems need creative solutions, and sustainability is a big, complex problem. In addition to taking great strides towards greener brewing and business practices, we are excited to welcome Abigail West, creative waste reduction specialist, as our first Get Artistic Artist-in-Residence. Read some recent updates on our sustainability initiatives here.
Abigail West is an artist, activist, and creative waste reduction specialist based in Athens. In 2019, Abigail received a Get Artistic grant to expand her capacity to fabricate furniture from recycled materials at her home art studio. Abigail first ventured into this part of her art practice while she was in school as a printmaking and book arts major at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. During college, Abigail worked with UGA’s Facilities Management Division as an apprentice and with UGA’s Office of Sustainability as their Reclamation intern. These experiences gave Abigail unique insight into the complex issue of furniture waste and the opportunity to transform used or damaged objects into something unique, beautiful, and imbued with new purpose.
Recognizing the potential for synergy between Abigail’s art practice and our own sustainability goals, we found a natural starting point for our Get Artistic Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program. Creating our version of an AiR program has been a goal of Get Artistic since the program was established in 2018. Our aim is to provide the artist with an opportunity to expand their creative practice in a unique setting, reach new audiences, and connect with Creature Comforts’ staff to enrich daily experiences through art. We are thrilled and honored to begin this journey with Abigail!
Through July and August, Abigail will create art installations over time at our downtown Athens taproom using hard-to-recycle materials from our beer production processes. While there are many things breweries can do to reduce their environmental footprint—such as investing in ultra-efficient, water-saving Krones canning equipment at both of Creature Comforts’ brewing facilities—brewing at an industrial scale comes with the complexities of sourcing materials and perishable ingredients from around the world. These industrial packaging materials—such as Mylar bags for storing hops, and woven polypropylene bags for shipping and storing specialty grain—are unfortunately not easy to recycle in many communities, including our beloved Athens. So, we thought we would invite Abigail to do what she does best: make something new and beautiful out of what might otherwise be discarded and forgotten.
This first iteration of the Get Artistic Artist-in-Residence program is one of the many ways we are taking creative approaches to practicing sustainability and respect for the planet. Be sure to stop by the brewery between now and the end of August to see Abigail’s installations come to life!