After all the kids had a closer look at the artwork, their teacher, Jennifer, brought home what this collaborative art project was all about: "I hope this experience has helped you think more carefully about what we throw away, and to find creative uses for the things we might throw away every day". Her words so articulately echoed what drives so much of what I do in my creative work.
It has been such a thrill to meet a teacher and a group of students who are keen to be more creative and responsible in their approach to garbage. A few weeks ago, Jennifer sent me the article some of her students wrote about our project for their school newsletter. They've summed up the experience better than I ever could.
From Junk to Art!
A few months ago, I embarked on a project with a sixth grade class at Chedoke Elementary in Hamilton. Jennifer Miscas, the teacher of this fine group of students, started a Jane Jar with her class at the beginning of the school year, and in January, she contacted me to see if I would create an art piece from the jar's contents. (You can read more about how this came about in my original blog post about the project's start.) I was thrilled and honoured by Jennifer's request.
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.
The Best Art Supplies Ever
Eventually all the garbage and repurposed components came together into this assemblage art piece, which I titled "Sixth Grade Landscape". Can you see what's in it? Keep reading to find out . . .
In my usual forgetfulness, I forgot to take a photo of the artwork, so Jennifer kindly provided me with this one. I've numbered the sections so you can see what went into each area of the artwork:
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 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.
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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