Emily Miller (she/her) has spent her life on the coast, and all her artwork has its roots in my love of the sea. She is a painter, mixed-media sculptor, and installation artist. Emily often incorporates natural and reclaimed materials into her work, exploring natural beauty and cycles of change in coastal environments. She moved from Kaua`i to the Portland, Oregon metro area in 2014.
Ghost Net Landscape: Sea Stories
Community-submitted puppet story from collaborative installation at Crema café in Portland, Oregon. Reclaimed fishing gear, 2020
“My art practice is currently centered on my “Ghost Net Landscape” traveling series of interactive installations. Ghost Net Landscape brings communities together to create artwork with thousands of pounds of plastic marine debris (“ghost net”). These exhibits focus on abundance, joy, creativity and exploration as solution-based approaches to massive and complex global issues. Abandoned and end-of-life fishing gear is a source of plastic that has become a major issue in our oceans and landfills worldwide. Each exhibit of Ghost Net Landscape explores different ways to re-imagine this ocean trash as a future resource with expansive potential. Ghost Net Landscape goes beyond raising awareness of a critical ocean conservation issue, and places the power to explore creative transformation directly in the hands of participants.
My role in the Ghost Net Landscape is as a facilitator, creating an active space for imagining new solutions, collaborations, and play within organically formed communities. The latest exhibit of Ghost Net Landscape, “Sea Stories,” invited the public to create puppets from reclaimed fishing gear in October 2020, and to share their Sea Story of transformation for our lands and people. Community-submitted puppet stories are being filmed and broadcast in public window space and online. I’m excited to work with new communities for future exhibits of Ghost Net Landscape around the world.”
Miller’s work as a whole, with an emphasis on her ongoing project Ghost Net, places primary focus on the degradation and biodiversity of ocean ecologies around the world. With roots on Kauaʻi and in Oregon, Miller is very familiar with these environmental concerns and the role of human activities within them, especially with the problematic use of plastic-based fishing nets and commercial fishing. We also chose to highlight these works because of the presence of the community in creating them, as many of these pieces are collaborative and take shape depending on the involvement of many community members. Miller’s practice underscores the need for inclusion and creativity as we find solutions for the challenges presented to us through environmental issues.