Regulars and Shorts

Andrea Heidinger’s “Shared Artifacts”

By Anna Albertsen

Community-sourced art project employs archaeological perspective.

Andrea Henkels Heidinger has been creating art with post-consumer waste—or, as she calls it, “post-consumer artifacts” for two de­cades now. Heidinger titled her mid ’90s MFA thesis Manifesto of a Post-Consumer Artifactist Artist. She realized that, as an artist, she did not want to add to the mass of post-consumer artifacts; she wanted to create with and reinvent the unused objects of her world. These no longer used consumer objects are what Heidinger calls “artifacts,” and she uses them to artistically express the deep connection between nature and humans.

Heidinger, a ceramics teacher at Granger High School since 2011, has presented at a wide variety of exhibits both locally and nationally since 1996.

She works mostly from home in a quiet basement studio or in her backyard. Ten years ago she and her husband started the Eat Local Challenge with the notion of increasing community involvement in the local food economy. Andrea has other sustainably minded habits like gardening, composting, and recycling the things she can’t put into her art.

“Just as a scientist finds a piece of ancient pottery to identify aspects of a past culture, the things we leave behind as a society are equally as illuminating and will later define us,” she says.

All people share one thing in common, says Heidinger: waste. She conceived of her latest project, “Shared Artifacts,” to bring people together to talk about waste in a different way. Andrea has put out a call for post-consumer artifacts with which she can create a collaborative art piece illuminating the differences and similarities within our community’s consumption habits.

With her experience in post-consumer artifactist art that juxtaposes cityscape and landscape with post-consumer artifacts, Andrea believes she can portray our community in an innovative way while engaging with it and the pertinent environmental issues we all face together.

If you can identify with that pair of beloved sunglasses that are too scuffed to wear but are reluctant to toss, this is the project for you. Their legacy will continue within a conscious art piece of repurposed post-consumer artifacts.

Our abandoned stuff has stories. A coat tag holds memories of a well-worn coat handed down from a great-aunt; mints from a memorable road trip; a button from a great Burning Man performance; the remains of a Hallowe’en costume; a broken leg from a favorite doll; the prettiest part of a danced-out shoe. What artifacts can you share, and what are their stories? Bring them to one of these sites:

Artifact drop off locations:

  • Marmalade Library: 280 W. 500 N.
  • Andrea’s house: 1902 E. Sycamore Ln
  • CATALYST office, see box on front porch: 140 S. McClelland St. (1040 E.)

Artifact contributions will be accepted through July 18.

Andrea Heidinger may be reached at


This article was originally published on July 1, 2017.