Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Found Object Art Month Ends...

Well, it's certainly been fun.  

Found Object Art Month has been a challenge for me as a blogger, artist, and art therapist.  I'm going to use this post to serve as the blog-equivalent of a clip show, remembering the good times...

I've featured a few interesting blogs with recycling in mind.

I've given you a few ideas for found object art projects.

I've shown you a few artists who use recycled or found objects in their work (and some where you can purchase their work on etsy!)

And I've updated you on the progress of one of my own found object art projects that I'm doing with clients at work.

Oh, and so much more...

Tomorrow is a big gallery show and creative arts celebration at work, where all of the found object art projects will be on display.  Unfortunately, I can't show you any pictures from that event due to confidentiality, BUT I can promise you, it is really going to be awesome.

And now I leave you with one of my favorite found object artists (or, rather, two of them, they work together): Tim Noble and Sue Webster.  They use light and shadow on found objects to create AMAZING work. 

Image found in this blog post over at web designer depot, which also has examples of even more found object artists!!

Coming soon: a 'zine about running Found Object Art Month at your art therapy site!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Defining Home FINISHED

I can't believe it's finished!

Read about the original directive, my birthday and first progress post, and the last progress post.

This has been a great project to do with my group.  A month may have been too long for some people, and maybe not enough for others.  For me, it was the right amount of time.  I got to invest in my project, but not become overwhelmed or consumed by it.  I worked on it for about an hour a week for the whole Found Object Art Month at work.  Today, I took pictures of all of the clients' projects for a big creative arts celebration we're having on Wednesday, and I have to say I am really proud of what came out!

Since I can't show any of their work here, I will just conclude this directive with my finished piece.  I may also write a formal directive outline for future use (and to pass along to others).

See the individual pages below the cut.

Featured Blogs: Web Ecoist

At first, this wasn't going to be a Featured Blogs post, but as I looked around Web Ecoist I decided it was worth featuring so that hopefully you would take a look at some of their other posts, too.  But the post that inspired this post was...

32 Amazing Examples of Recycled Furniture 
at Web Ecoist

I would really like to copy the entire post here, but I won't, because that is bad bloggy karma.

(Images below are found in that post, I take no credit for their awesomeness)

One of the fun things I imagine about that CD chair is that it is really rolly.  Maybe that would make it hard to sit on - because you would keep rolling off - but it looks kind of fun.

I remember in undergrad there was a classic first project in one of the "Intro to 3D Fundamentals" class where the students were asked to make a functional chair out of recycled cardboard.  Though everyone always complained about that project, I thought it was amazing and was a little disappointed I never had that assignment.  (Instead, I had to create a life-size self portrait using only cardboard and re-bar wire, which was pretty fun I will admit and I wish I had a picture of what I made)

Anyway, this blog Web Ecoist is pretty interesting, and I recommend checking them out.  They have other quirky "eco" things to blog about, like living furniture:

I'm not sure if I like this, but I think I do. (Image credit and read more about green growing furniture)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elegant Found Object Vases

Haha, okay, it was my idea, but I'll still call them elegant.  I decided to pick up some cheap flowers (baby's breath and purple eucalyptus) on the way home one day because ... well, I wanted to.  But then I got home and realized I didn't have a big enough vase for any of those tall stems.  I didn't want to cut them because I liked how tall they were.

So I went into my found objects box.  (I have one. It's not very big because I really try to limit myself from keeping cool trash.  It's a way of controlling the hoarding tendency that I think a lot of artists / art therapists have)  I found some packaging material from our wedding china (I'm telling you, HOARDING TENDENCIES) and wrapped them into tubes for the vases.  This worked for the eucalyptus stems, which I'm pretty sure don't need to be in water, but the baby's breath needed water.

I went back into my found objects box and found an old - but clean - yogurt container.  I filled it with water and then wrapped the cardboard packaging around it, taping it together on the inside.

This is a peak underneath, but I am keeping the cardboard flush against the top of the bookshelf so nobody can see the yogurt container.

The whole process took maybe 10 minutes, including some trial and error, and was completely free, made out of what would have been thrown away a year and a half ago when we opened the china.

Now, the baby's breath is in its own little vase on top of one bookshelf:

 And the eucalyptus stems are in their own vase on top of another:

So you see, found objects can be easy and crafty solutions to every day problems.  I think they look like nice vases, no longer lowly packaging meant to prevent dishes from break as they are hurled over a tall fence into a back yard - like how our china was delivered.

As an aside, the print of the woman by the eucalyptus is called "Mother Earth's Tears" by Canadian artist Maxine Noel.  We bought it in Stratford this summer when we were there for the Shakespeare Festival.  One day it will be framed.  It's not an original print; we got it at the gift shop, shhh.

The framed art above it is an original paper-cut that we got for our wedding that reads

אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני
(If I forget you, Jerusalem, let me forget my right hand)

It's really intricate and lovely :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cheap projects

I have found a few sites that have some projects you can make with cheap, recycled materials.  Instead of spreading out the projects over the course of the next few days (which I guess would be the easy way to finish Found Object Art Month), I will post the links to the sites and set you off to explore on your own!

kinderart.com/recycle has tons of projects using household refuse... my favorites are the egg cup flowers, handmade paper, and paper bag kites.

make-stuff.com/recycling has a list of projects to make with recycled materials, such as a frisbie bird feeder, things you can make with old berry baskets, and things you can do with plastic bottles.

These sites have resources for either finding reusable materials or buying usable things from people using reusable things (say that 5 times fast).

The ReStore takes usable building materials from construction sites that would otherwise be junked and sells it (very cheaply). On their site, they say: "Since its inception, The RE Store has turned building material waste into a viable sustainable business venture that diverts close to 4 million pounds of waste per year from needless disposal while employing over 25 full time employees." Pretty cool.

ecobusinesslinks provides a list of artisans and businesses that use recycled materials in their products... anything from gifts to furniture to ... well, whatever!

I don't have a fun image to accompany this post, so instead I will quote a pertinent episode of Futurama (Season 1, Episode 8: A Big Piece of Garbage)

Leela: Fry, what the hell were you people thinking back then? How could you just throw your garbage away?
Fry: Hey, hey, gimmie a break! What do you do with it?

Leela: We recycle everything. Robots are made from old beer cans.

Bender: Yeah! And this beer can is made outta old robots.

Leela: And that sandwich you're eating is made of old discarded sandwiches. Nothing just gets thrown away.

Fry: The future is disgusting!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Extra cardboard, anyone?

Cardboard seems to be the junk art material of choice for many people.  It's easy to acquire, has many possibilities (melt it with water, peel back the layers, paint on it, layer it, can be strong enough for support of heavier objects, etc) and its color basically screams to be covered in something.  It's so cheap and easy that it's a relatively guilt-free material to experiment with.

When I saw this Cardboard Surfboard, I was intrigued.  The creator of this design posted directions and blue prints on this site so you can make your own and help improve it.

(image credit to linked article)

Not sure I would trust a cardboard surfboard but it is pretty interesting!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


(image credit: funnyphotos.net.au/melon)

Okay, it's not junk, but it's kind of a found object... if you have leftover watermelon. Anyway, it's kind of creepy how life-like the tongue looks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tinfoil (as found object?)


Or, check out the section of the artist's website about "Speed Creating".  For 30 days he tried to create completely new projects (often, they ended up being out of found objects!). This tinfoil project was Day 24.

(image credit to the artist, Dominic Wilcox.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Make your own "Wristies"

(Image AND idea credit: mayamade.blogspot.com)

Ah ha!

I saw someone wearing these recently and she said she bought them at a store in the Village.  I said, wait, aren't those just sleeves from an old sweater with a thumb hole cut in them?  She said, ummmmmm maybe.  Debunking a purchase like that to a fellow art therapist probably wasn't the nicest thing I could have done (since now she knows how she could have made her own for free), but maybe now she'll make her own in many different colors and styles!

The ones on Maya Made are pleated, but you definitely don't have to do that to enjoy the wristies.

This reminds me a lot of the legwarmers my friend from grad school wore one day.  She said she just wanted to keep her legs warm in the Chicago winter but be able to slip them off once she got inside, but then left them on because they were cute.  So there you have it.  Legwarmers and wrist warmers.  Warmth never really goes out of style I guess!

So I decided to make my own!

Okay, they are knee-high socks instead of an old sweater because before moving to New York I donated all my old things and had nothing to recycle for this project.  Instead I went to H&M and bought some cheap, warm socks and cut them the same way.  I didn't pleat them because the top of the socks was stretchy enough.

At some point I may hem them because I don't trust the jagged edges not to unravel when I decide to wash them.  But they are warm and nice!  (Especially since our apartment still doesn't have heat!)

(PS: That awesome bowl on my desk is by Laura Zindel, and was a wedding present - along with three other Laura Zindel beauties :) )

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cereal Box Gee-tar

Made By Joel strikes again! What a great blog, he has so many ideas for making fun toys and objects out of easy-to-find materials.

(Image and video credit to Made By Joel)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Textile Recycler

(Image and info from The Textile Arts Center's blog post, artist website: Jrumchai Singalavanij)

Jrumchai Singalavanij has developed a process where he takes waste products from producing woven textiles and turns it into art material... Amazing!  It looks like felted dreadlocks!  I love it.  Click the links above to see more images of Jrumchai's work and learn about the philosophy that drove him to this process.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sock Zombie!!!!

You've heard of sock monkeys, but how about sock zombies??

I have to make at least one of these crazy sock zombies.

Thank you, CRAFT magazine blog!

(Zombies are not just for Halloween, there could be a zombie invasion any time of the year).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Earth Day art contest (last year)

I made this little weird montage of images from the website for the City of Cerritos' Earth Day art contest last January.  They have some images from past projects, including a Diet Coke can helicopter and the (pictured above) frog made out of green plastic bottles!  How fun!  Maybe I should re-introduce found object art month in April for Earth Day...


I have a new major project in the works. 

I'm SO excited.  I'll be using this blog to keep myself accountable (like I did for my mural project that inspired the blog).  I'll unveil it after Found Object Art Month is over.

But here's are a few clues to keep you interested: this blog is "JewishGalArt.blogspot.com" and this project is more true to this name than my recent undertakings, it's a large scale project with a specific deadline that I didn't set myself, and it's something that can be distributed and many people will be able to use.  Oh, and I am definitely not the first person to make something like this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

That's So Meta

(image credit to linked article)

I like to think of artists making art out of recycled objects while working inside their recycled subway car studios.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Richard Salley, and intention in found object art making

I found this image of a beautiful found-object jewelry piece by Richard Salley on vintaj.com, a jewelry website/magazine/blog.  The wrote that Richard said,

"...the thing about found object art is that the pieces themselves don’t have much value. The value comes from the creative process of putting those things together in some artful way" 

Yes!   He says he doesn't consider himself a jeweler, more like someone who can make wearable art, since he doesn't use any materials that have intrinsic value.  I love that.  That's really why I love found object art.  These materials are lowly pieces of trash (more often than not), but they can be raised to a higher level by the creative process of assemblage and intention.  It sometimes feels like a parallel process to art therapy work - that someone's challenges, set-backs, sadness, could be something they would want to throw away, but it can be transformed into something beautiful.

(Read Richard Salley's blog!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marcel Duchamp: first famous found object artist?

Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp.
(image credit to the wikipedia article)

Well, maybe he wasn't the first famous found object artist, but certainly his fountain is a classic example of found object art (although, is it maybe more conceptual art than found object art?.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Defining Home continued

Posting twice today to show an update of the defining home project (the last update was posted on my birthday).

I really like how it's coming along.  I like this project because I feel like I am really working alongside the people in my group.  Sometimes, especially when I get out the magazines, I am tempted to cut out pictures of flowers and pretty things, but I don't.  I'm trying to model the level of complexity and intention I am hoping they will achieve through this project.

I'm also trying to include other found objects, not just collaging and painting on the cardboard (although it's very tempting!)

In this end this project will have 8 pages (four physical pieces of cardboard).  We will be working on them for another 3 weeks, finishing on the last Monday of November and creating small write-ups about them for our gallery.

Michelle Renee Bernard

Michelle Renee Bernard's (image credit to her) website "Yesterday's Trash" has many fantastic examples of found object art projects! Iwent to her site recently to find some inspiration for some of my art groups that I'm running at work.  Her pieces have an amazing sense of humor, made from toys and seemingly random objects.  There's something a little carnival about it.  Check out her etsy site to purchase her work!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cork Baby

This "cork baby" is made by Marita Dingus, written about in the Olympia Dumpster Diver's blog. Marita regularly uses found objects in her artwork, so please check out her website! Also the Olympia Dumpster Diver's blog is full of great images of their finds, as well as the work made from some of fruits of their dives :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bags made from Recycled Denim

These bags are amazing!!!

(Read the original post here)

OKAY, I love bags, I am going to give into that cliche. BUT. ALSO. These bags are made from recycled denim! Would you think that just looking at them? Probably not. At least, I wouldn't. I like the first one but maybe without the cat metal thing on it. But I love the fringes and it just looks so comfortable and slouchy, just the way I like my bags.

I found this post about 7 bags made from recycled denim and was so excited. But then I saw - wait - this is part of a recycled denim challenge? Where lots of people recycled denim into amazing things you wouldn't know were made from recycled fabric?

And the winner of this challenge was this hilariously awesome and relatively practical dining set:

(Read the post here)

Love! Love! Love! It makes me want to cut up my old (aka too small) jeans. Except I am a sad sight with the sewing machine. So instead I will just have hearts for this challenge and those beautiful recycled bags. Ahhh.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recycled Scrap Paper Notebooks

(Photo credit: Design*Sponge)

Do you have:
- 8 ½” x 11” scrap paper (from faxes, printing mishaps and mail)
- binder clips
- scraps of cardboard or wood paint mixers
- elmers glue, pvc or a glue gun
- paint brush
- decorative scrap paper
- masking tape and/or decorative tape

Then check out this great tutorial for making your own awesome recycled scrap paper notebooks over at Design*Sponge!

I love this tutorial!! I am going to have to give this a shot, myself. I love making books, and this project seems pretty easy to do (and to tweak so I can put my own flare on it). I, like some of the other commenters, have lots of pads of paper and notebooks that aren't 100% used but I don't want to throw them away because maaaaybe some day I will use those last ten pages. Well, that day is coming soon, as in, I will rip them out of the notebook and combine them all into one awesome recycled notebook.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Little Worlds in Toilet Paper Tubes

These little worlds were made by Anastassia Elias. Wow. It's amazing what you can do when you re-imagine materials! Who would have thought to cut these little scenes out of the inside of toilet paper tubes? I love the way they become like silhouette scenes when the light shines just right.

I also happen to kind of love silhouette art, which I guess is trendy right now, but one of my favorite artists is Kara Walker (and a google image search). I actually went to a talk she gave a couple of years ago in Chicago. Very cool and inspiring! It's amazing how evocative a simple black and white silhouette can be.

(Found Anastassia Elias from the Renegade Handmade blog)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rethinking Trash into Inspired Art

Photo via Jaymi Heimbuch

Rethinking Trash into Inspired Art, a slideshow of images of beautiful art made out of recycled materials from Treehugger.com!

Sometimes when I tell people about junk art or found object art they mention how "green" it is to make art out of trash. I suppose it is "green." But, for me, junk gives so many more opportunities to be inspired - the objects have their own shapes and personalities right from the beginning! Working with junk encourages creativity and develops problem solving skills, I think. I'd like to do some research on it some day... but not today, no time no time!

Also, I mean, it's free. And in this economy, who can argue with free art supplies?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy birthday to me!!

Today is my birthday :) Hooray!

I am very excited to show you the progress on the "Defining Home" directive. I started this in one of my groups last week and now I love how it's going. The beans will be painted blue so they match the nest.

Maybe this is a boring post to you, but I am writing it the night before my birthday, and I have no idea what my birthday will bring (probably working in the ceramics studio and then going out to dinner). I also just got back from the American Art Therapy Association Conference in Sacramento, which I will tell you about a full month late in December - after Found Object Art Month is over.

So, enjoy the progress... I know I am!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dead or Alive

Photo credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Dead or Alive, at the Museum of Arts and Design, includes Kate MccGwire’s “Discharge,” made of feathers.

Combine some of the materials in “Dead or Alive” at the Museum of Arts and Design, and you’d have a potent witch’s brew. A single piece by Tessa Farmer, for instance, makes use of a ram skull, a mummified frog and bat, bladderwort, hedgehog spikes, weasel skulls, a spider web and sections of a wasp’s nest. (Another sinister-sounding substance, volcanic ash, delayed the piece’s installation; it will be up by Tuesday.)


And while the art is made of things that are no longer living, the show is certainly lively. Almost everything in it will arouse some kind of curiosity, whether material, scientific or historic. The 16th-century wunderkammer, it seems, is an excellent model for a 21st-century art and design museum.
Read the full article here: nytimes.com/2010/0...

This show is no longer up, but what an interesting concept! I only found out about it a few days before it closed so I unfortunately didn't end up going. It's not quite junk art in that it isn't man-made trash, but it is interesting making art out of things that were once alive...

Check out the museum's website (with pictures of the installation and artworks) here:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cigarette Butt Rug

This rug was made entirely out of found cigarette butts! That's pretty disgusting but it looks amazing! This is one of those "do not try this at home" type of things...

Read more about it here: designboom.com/...

(Image credit to the linked article)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Car Parts + James Corbett

Image credit: telegraph.co.uk

James Corbett was one of the first artists to pop up when I began my search for junk art artists. Specifically, I was looking for artists who made stuff out of old car parts, and these are just beautiful.

Image credit: pyd.com.au

Check out his website for more! Although, honestly, I'm finding a ton of stuff just searching in google images for "James Corbett car part art".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Art with leaves

Her blog is in French, but for more of these beautiful leaf assemblages visit atelierpourenfants' blog :)

I wish I could do some work like this! Maybe I'll have to get some leaves when I leave the city... not sure I trust the germy NYC sidewalks (haha).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I love the work of Fred Conlon! I'm pretty sure I saw him at the Bayou City Arts Festival in Houston a few years ago. I LOVE his wacky sculptures, especially his hilarious Gnome-Be-Gones:

One thing I love about junk art is that it often has a sense of humor. I guess you have to have a sense of humor when you make art out of random things you dig up!

Like the artwork? Click the images to purchase them! Or visit sugarpost.com.
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