Building blocks of food: ‘Canstruction’ contest to be judged today
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Can sculptors Joyce Ruiz, left, and April Heilman, both from a team from First Federal, put the finishing touches on a sailboat made from cans of food for “Canstruction,” a benefit for the Port Angeles Food Bank, during a construction session on Thursday at Peninsula Behavioral Health in Port Angeles. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — They aren’t just sculptures; they’re also meals.

Four teams have built sea-themed sculptures using only canned food at Peninsula Behavioral Health, 118. E. Eighth St., as a “foodraiser” for the Port Angeles and Sequim food banks.

Winners of the “Canstruction” contest will be selected by a panel of local judges today.

The creations will be on public display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission will be a donation at the door of one can or box of nonperishable food.

All visitors can cast a vote for their favorite sculpture to determine the People’s Choice winner.

Under the guidance of architect Mary Ellen Winborn and engineer Dean Reed, teams from First Federal, Merrill & Ring, Windermere and Peninsula Behavioral Health created king-size sculptures, which are built of food that could make a meal.

Eight pallets of food were ordered through Albertsons, a partner in the event.

In total, 8,202 cans of food have been used in “Canstruction.”

The Merrill & Ring team began work Wednesday, and the other teams jumped into the fray Thursday.

Each team was allowed a 10-square-foot area, five team members and 12 hours of work.

The creations will be dismantled Sunday, with the food distributed among the Port Angeles and Sequim food banks as well as the residential program at Peninsula Behavioral Health.

The unusual challenge has teams seeking canned food based on color, shape and content.

Doc Reiss, managing broker at Windermere Real Estate, said he spent hours in Albertsons supermarket at 114 E. Lauridsen Blvd. taking pictures and measurements of cans.

“The folks at Albertsons didn’t know what I was doing,” Reiss said with a laugh.

The team needed a lot of blue and black cans — and a contest requirement to create a recipe from the ingredients in their sculpture made the selection that much more difficult, he said.

A practice session showed that their final design just barely fit in their area, and work began on the team’s recreation of an iconic 2012 photograph of a giant great white shark following a kayak.

Merrill & Ring’s design was more freeform — a giant hermit crab in a seashell. It focused on nourishing foods and creating a recipe, said Norm Schaaf, vice president, timberland manager and “Canstruction” team member.

The cans include a lot of chicken and tuna, beans, chicken stock and corn, Schaaf said.

The team for Peninsula Behavioral Health is building the MV Coho ferry out of cans of food that would make chili, said team leader Rebekah Miller.

“The food bank has asked us to do as much protein as possible,” said Miller, who is development coordinator at Peninsula Behavioral Health.

The team’s chili boat is made of cans of diced tomatoes, chillies and kidney, pinto and black beans, and the inside is filled with cans of soup, she said.

“A lot of the planning had to do with what cans looked best for our design,” Miller said.

The red on the Coho will be defined by cans of Carlita refried beans, and the black stack is to be made of Stag chili cans.

“Canstruction” judges include graphic artist Laurel Black, Feiro Marine Life Center Executive Director Deb Moriarty, Coast Guard Command Master Chief Lawrence Moroles, Navy Capt. Jonathan Picker of Port Angeles High School’s NJROTC unit and Clallam County District Court Judge Rick Porter.

The judges will award trophies for Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, Structural Integrity, Jurors’ Favorite and Honorable Mention.

For more information on “Canstruction,” contact Miller at Peninsula Behavioral Health at 360-457-0431, ext. 159, or


Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at

Last modified: November 15. 2013 10:30PM
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