Thursday, April 26, 2012

Taking my Motto to the Next Level

For nearly two years now (my blog's anniversary is May 6!), I've been extolling the virtues of "taking the discarded and making it arted".  A somewhat awkward motto, perhaps, but hey - it rhymes and it does explain the gist of what I do.  :)

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you already know that most of the "discarded" items whereof I speak are of a mid-century vintage, and so completely cool that I can't believe anyone would throw them out in the first place (like my old Life magazines, trading stamp booklets, old coupons, European stick pins, etc.).

If I am to fully embrace my motto, however, then shouldn't I take myself literally?  I'm talking full-on trash here, guys.  If my motto includes the word "discarded", shouldn't that automatically include honest-to-goodness garbage?

It does now!  :D

If you follow my page for my Web site ( on Facebook, then you're probably already aware that I'm teaching a seminar tonight about "upcycled" art.  The library had contacted Fond du Lac Visual Arts and asked if anyone would be interested in teaching this seminar for Money Smart Week. I jumped at the chance because a). It's a great way to meet local folks and b). it embodies everything I do.  I'm really excited about the class and I've been creating upcycled items all week in preparation, stuff that may be a little different than what I normally do.  It has cranked up my creative side in a very positive way by forcing me to stray from my comfort zone to find projects that are quick, easy and free (or cheap).  Here's a votive holder that I created with nothing but a mold (in this case, a mason jar),  a plastic bag, and a heat gun.  VOILA!

With the advent of those battery-operated tea lights, a plastic bag luminaria is indeed possible.  Imagine 20 or more of these lining a walkway!  And it would cost absolutely nothing, thanks to all of those shopping bags you have stuffed underneath your sink.  I have to give credit where it's due - this wonderful Web site is where I got the idea.

I'm also going to show projects using upcycled toilet paper rolls, newspaper, wine corks and labels, and construction items.  You may have already seen my recent post, "Constructing an Idea", where I showed  what had recently blown into my yard.  Well, here's the finished piece that I created using that stuff: 

"Blew in Blue", available on

I'm really proud of this piece.  Aside from the background of school paper and grid paper that I already had plus a couple of extras, everything else is either trash, or bits from cardboard boxes that were about to be recycled. All of the items that I had mentioned in the post are here, along with a bank flyer I found in a field by our house, a DQ bag image (the woman in the lower right) and the wrapper to a roll of TP that I unwrapped at our condo in the Dells.  I added the block print of a map and the rub-on transfers last.  I'm bringing it tonight to emphasize that ANYTHING can be used in art!  :D

Wish me luck!


  1. that's awesome! love it!

  2. Great stuff! I can't believe what you made from just what blew into your yard! I must admit, I do look around my yard a lot more now on windy days!