Skip to content

The Last Straw Art Sculpture, “From the Artist”

Meet Rachael Lallo, one of our talented graphic designers in the Pacific Whale Foundation marketing department.
Rachael worked long and hard to design the Last Straw Campaign that launched on World Oceans Day in June. The Last Straw is our conservation campaign to raise awareness about single-use plastics, focusing on plastic drinking straws. Rachael was on a creative streak and decided to use her artistic talents to create a sculpture using 5,200 individual straws and working for a total of 65 hours to create this focal point for plastic straw awareness.

Rachael Lallo: “This was a big project. Of course I couldn’t create a simple easy piece, ha ha! Being the artist I am, I wanted to make something that would be impactful and have the power to make a difference. I wanted the piece to educate people in an instant about the overpowering global issue of marine debris and debris in general. I remember being educated in grade school about other types of conservation, but now a fast shift is being made to focus on the overwhelming and alarming issue of marine debris. We’re needing to put out our own fires. This issue has grown so fast and wild that it’s consuming our planet. It’s obviously a huge threat and it feels that we’ve only recently realized it. But it’s never too late to make a change.

More from Rachael: Creating this piece was a full of ups and downs. Gluing the straws together in the general shape of the turtle was monotonous, but I felt accomplished when I was over that hump of the project. After that was complete, I shaped the shell and fins. That was my favorite part, the piece was finally coming to life! Then I cut and shaped pieces of recycled and repurposed plastic storage bins into the waves. My boyfriend Kyle built the stand/frame, with my supervision of course. I finished with gluing, stapling, and screwing down the pieces of marine debris, because I didn’t want anything to blow away.

All in all, an estimated 5400 amount of straws are used in the piece itself. The frame is made from recycled and repurposed pallet wood, and the marine debris was collected from the beaches, shores, and waters of Maui. The waves at the base are shaped from repurposed plastic storage bins.

With a complete piece in front of me, I felt pleased with what I created. It was, and continues to be, rewarding knowing that my art has the power to open people’s eyes, educate, and made a difference.

Debris is devastating our planet, and we all are responsible.

 – Rachael Lallo

Learn more about The Last Straw