Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creating With What You Have On Hand

This lovely miniature chair was made out of slices of a black walnut shell. It was made many years ago, and I treasure it.
My grandparents made it. They made many wonderful things, and mostly out of whatever they had on hand. They rarely bought supplies for their creations, but used whatever they had at hand. Growing up I loved to go to their house and see what they had made or were making.

They have been gone for many years, but I know part of my love for making things out of whatever I have on hand is partly due to them. I found this newspaper clipping about them in my belongings in the past year, and it hangs on a beam in my studio.

These coconut shell faces that they made also hang on a beam in my home. Together they made so many things - ships in bottles, carved book holders, wooden men that danced jigs, owls, family chains etc. My grandpa often did the carving, while my grandma did the painting. I remember my grandma telling me the hours went by so quickly when she was creating things. I too feel the same way. I also love to make things out of whatever comes my way.

This book was made out of things I found in the recycling box where I work. Someone had put in an old flower field guide. Many pages were cut out of it, but many were still in tact, and I used those pages for the covers of some books.

At the same time there was a package of old posters (wonderful thick paper) that hadn't been used. The posters had text and images on one side, but the other side was blank. And so the posters came home with me too, and I cut them down and sewed them together to become the pages in this book.

This little booklet/card and envelope were also made using those old posters. My old sewing machine (the one my mother used to sew my clothes when I was young), has spent quite a bit of time sewing these posters!

When I started making books, I collected old books that were heading for recycling, and recovered the covers to make new covers. But it bothered me that I wasn't using the pages. Then I got an idea to cover the old pages with acrylic paint, and they could be written on again.... and that is what this book is made from. One tip for anyone thinking about trying this is to use a ball point pen rather than a felt pen for writing on the pages. I wrecked a lot of felt tip pens before I figured that out!
And so I continue my grandparents tradition of making things out of whatever I have on hand. This past summer I scooped a box of old campground envelopes out of the recycling bin, and ideas of how I am going to use them have been swirlying around in my head ever since.
I can't wait to have some time to play with them!

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