Found Object Art & Sculpture

IMG_4603I have always liked doing art projects. I was the youngest of 6 children, so we generated a lot of cardboard packaging and paper towel and toilet paper rolls. As a child, I would take cereal boxes, shoe boxes and cardboard rolls, glue them together and cover them with paint to create any number of art projects or wild houses to play in. The old adage that children always like the box more than the toy that came in it was true for me. I did not enjoy playing with dolls, but loved creating beautiful spaces for them to live in. At a certain moment when I was 8 or 9, the small side of my room, on the other side of my canopy bed, had an entire 2 – 3 story village set up – all made from shoe, cracker and cereal boxes. The dolls I had were called “little kiddles”, so I called it “little kiddle town”. Each doll had its own 2 story house with furniture made from scrap wood or taped together cardboard. Everyone in my family sewed, so I had access to vast amounts of scrap fabric for bedding, curtains, table cloths and rugs. In addition to the houses, there was a sign, at the corner of the bed, directing any visitors to the town. There was a bank, complete with toilet paper roll columns on its front and a grocery store with a very detailed cash register and shelving system I made from wood pieces. There was an art museum with a “modern” sculpture in front of it and a school with playground equipment. There was a port with two ferries called the Palmers and the Balmers, made from pieces of wood and painted in bright colors. They were named for me and my best friend; we used those nicknames for each other. I used pennies for the burners on everyone’s stove, and had a plethora of plates for all the tables to be fully set. There was, at the time, a bottle top contest. There was a soft plastic disc in each bottle cap, underneath which was the prize info. I managed to amass about 40 of those plastic discs, so that each of my 5 fully equipped 2 story homes had place settings for 8. I played with the boats, cooked in the little kitchens, set up beautiful little tables, shopped in the little store, but never actually played with the dolls. I have never found a picture of my town, but I spent hours and hours designing and fiddling with it to get it just right. Since then, over the course of my life, I have always enjoyed creating something from discarded objects and recyclables. I love the artist Vic Muniz who created portraits out of garbage with Brazilian sanitary workers, sold them at auction for tens of thousands of dollars, and returned the money to the workers to create schools for their children. These workers live at the sanitation site sorting and organizing garbage, so their families live there with them. I particularly enjoyed my nod to this artist in my 2016 garbage mandala entitled, “portrait of a vacation”, where I saved all the clean garbage and packaging from a two week vacation and placed it all in a mandala sort of pattern. I would like to think my use of discarded material is some great political statement, but it is quite possible, I am still just working on “little kiddle” town.

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