I finished the art piece in May and delivered it to Jennifer and her class. And with my impeccable timing, I'm finally getting around to writing about it just as all the kids head out for their well-deserved summer vacation. Sorry, guys. Nevertheless, let me tell you the story of how some sixth graders' junk turned into fabulous art supplies.
This is how it all started: a big jar, full of lovely trash.
I upended the jar and dumped the contents onto a tray to see what would emerge. The bright colours were what first caught my eye. With all the broken toys, school supplies, and accessories that are part of sixth graders' lives, there were lots of vibrant pinks, greens, oranges and blues. Then I picked out interesting shapes and lines, and an idea began to form: a sort of fantastical landscape.
Some of the Jane Jar contents could be used as-is, but a lot of the trash had to be modified to become part of the artwork. For example, I coiled all the friendship bracelets, hair elastics, and ribbon-y bits into circles, and set them with acrylic medium. I did the same thing with all the loom bands that had made their way into the Jane Jar. I later strengthened the loom band swirls with a coating of epoxy resin.
As you can see below, the state of my desk was rather chaotic as I made all the components.
The Best Art Supplies Ever
1. I made the sun out of a lid from a sports drink, a plastic basketball from a broken keychain, broken pencils, and broken pencil crayons.
2. The trees in the background are made from friendship bracelets and broken pencil crayons.
3. The blue flower has a lot of components.
- I made the lighter blue "petals" by painting toy money and wrapping pieces around pen caps and pencil grips; pen and mechanical pencil parts form stamens of a sort.
- The dark blue petals are made from a correction tape dispenser, which I embellished with pen parts and an eraser.
- My favourite petals are made from a toy dinosaur and a lego man embellished with a mechanical pencil hat and a plastic gear at his feet.
- The centre of the flower is made from a plastic gear and a piece of marker lid filled with tinted resin.
- I made the leaves out of more paper money, an instruction sheet for a Webkinz toy, and a piece of lined paper. I painted the leaves green and outlined some of them with lime green nail polish.
- The dots around the flower are made from loom bands and pieces of pen filled with tinted epoxy.
- The centre of the flower and the petal at the bottom left are both hair barrettes.
- The upper right left petal is made from a jelly bracelet filled in with tinted epoxy.
- I made the remaining petals out of pages from a little cupcake-shaped notebook, perfect for forming interesting petal shapes. All but one of the petals have pencil grips in their centres with stamens made out of springs from pens. The other petal has a hair barrette as its centre.
- The purple dots around the flower are made from a ribbon dyed with acrylic ink.
I think that's everything . . .
You might notice that not all of the components I made out of the kids' trash made it into the final artwork. These pieces are destined for another art adventure in my studio, and I have carefully stashed them away until their destiny is revealed. I have done the same with any of the garbage I didn't use from the sixth graders' collection.
In my next post, I'll tell you about Part Two of this story: my visit with Jennifer and her delightful sixth graders. It was a great time, and I can't wait to tell you about it, so stay tuned.