Friday, February 18, 2005

Especially For Art Rat Packers

A very big thank you to all those people who have helped me compile this list of things to collect for my students at the three schools where I am working. Now I will be able to tell parents and teachers what we need in our scrap room. Of course, any further additions would be appreciated. It will also help me when I am making up my mini stashes for the Footprint Challenge. I had thought of some of these things. When stashes begin arriving a few people will find that I have also chopped up some old ties for their fabulous material.

Garden magazines (new in colour)
Seed catalogs
Seed bags
Books on nature from junk sales
Fashion magazines
Wrapping paper
glitter glue
Fresh or dried flowers
News papers
Silk flowers
My own photos
Oriental paper
Tea backs
Paper from candy and other kind of food
Things with an interesting texture like wood.
I place the paper over the textured subject, and rub with a pencil.

Plastic netting for texture (we get onions in it here, maybe you get
something similar?)
seed pods, shells
pretty napkins
old birthday/xmas cards
dry twigs
buttons (!)
cancelled stamps from the mail
stickers that come in junk mail
mesh veggie bags (the ones that oranges, onions, potatoes come in)
shoe/boot laces -- love the leather ones
the free CDs that come in the mail (AOL offers, that type of thing)
dryer lint
egg shells (I love egg shell mosaics, tinted with food colouring -- make sure they are rinsed and dry)
watch parts and broken jewellery
the cellophane "windows" from boxes of pasta
slats from vinyl mini-blinds (these take and hold pencil and Sharpie markings very well. Cut to length, they also make excellent plant markers...write the name of the plant on it, and stick it in the pot or the ground)
pretty (or foreign language) labels from canned goods
soap wrappers (if you insist on using that store bought, mass produced stuff...*wink*)
brown paper grocery bags, especially the ones with handles that can also be used
funky yarn bits
handmade paper (or paper that looks like it)
Fabric paints
small metal charms
formica samples
unglazed tile pieces
plywood pieces to mount my Raku pieces on
glass beads
dyeable fabric
glittery paint
copper wire
glass votive holders
old fashioned blue embroidery transfers (the sort our grandmothers
used to use!)
dress patterns
labels from everything
tickets (bus, train, cinema, theatre, sports events, etc)
foreign and national bank notes and coins (coins and notes can be
scanned and coins can be rubbed with oencil over paper)
newspapers and magazines in foreign characters or languages
illustrations from old books
old letters, old documents, bills
playing cards, tarot cards, cigarette cards, the sort of cards that
kids swap with each other
cake doillies
handmade paper
interesting calligraphy
beads and sequins
knitting yarn, embroidery silks
laddered stockings or tights with textures or appliqu├ęs
leaf skeletons
seeds and seed cases

I don't think anybody listed "fortunes from fortune cookies", did they? I have a stash I collected over a period of ten years and they're just a-waitin for the perfect project. I also like clothing labels and "made in's" (made in Canada, made in Taiwan, made in China, etc). Instructions from shipping labels (this end up, fragile, throw underhanded, etc). Warning labels can be both illuminating and hilarious. Black and white photocopies of large, richly textured items are great. I've been trying to photocopy the cat but as yet he still won't go for it. I've never been one to throw out a perfectly good marble but I can't seem to keep track of them. Obviously. My most important collection, however, is a pile of damaged books from which I cut letters, words, phrases, and whole paragraphs. Other than the books, I have an enormous collection of odds and ends of the category-less sort that are never used. Stephanie

Many of the items suggested would be interesting to work into costumes as well. I have created costumes by putting together pictures of jewelry. I know one artist that is a master at creating costumes using all kinds of pictures from magazines. She can see the possibilities. Even used a picture of a plowed field as a dress and it looked like pleats! When I was teaching, I also had kids bring in stuff from home and had sent out a list of items such as egg cartons, foam meat trays, detergent bottles, old magazines, cartons from cereal,etc. I got so much it was a problem to store some of it, but certainly a help in doing a variety of projects. Sylvia

Funny I was just reading on about artists as pack rats... having just spent a delightful afternoon going through boxes and boxes of fabric that my neighbour's mum is discarding and then raiding the beach for twigs and sticks and logs and sea glass and....the other day I found three twisted rusted big old nails and want to so something along the lines of the "shipwrecks of our lives"...

Oh my DEAR! I have SOOOOO much more stuff than just what I've listed! I only listed what I thought others might not have thought of. I really should just box up my various collections and sell the damn things online. They're great, but they take up my space and taunt me MERCILESSLY to stop the work at hand and start scheming about a whole new line of artwork. Lord how they torment me those cool whatsits and thingamajigs! OH...and I must add "plastic caps off of water and pop bottles" to the list of collections. I mache them onto my bowls for feet. I also glue or tape them to pieces of cardboard to make...what should I call them?...not racks...but they act like racks for keeping a piece of mache work off the surface allowing me to work without the work-in-progress sticking to the worktable thus peeling off layers, and it set the work there to dry with the air being able to circulate underneath. I have white and blue plastic caps in every freakin drawer and shelf downstairs and sitting along all the window ledges. I'm not sure, you'd have to ask the cat, but I think they breed overnight when the lights are out. Stephanie

used telephone cards

expired credit cards - cut these up along the edges and use them to drag
through acrylic paint - gives wonderful textures

I was curious to see what kind of things people on the collage group would be collecting, so ask them for ideas and got some interesting new materials to add to our list. Some may be a bit too way out but then we can consider every possible category. Depends on our themes as to what might work for us.
Subject: Re: Things to collect for Collage

i meant to add: i've also photocopied mittens, pottery (not easy!), brushes, hair (my own, not the cats'), corners of rugs, kleenex boxes,ceramic tiles, antique tins, and a million other antique objects.

also those patterned thingies that go under the feet of furniture to protect a rug.
suggestion: do this at other houses that have photocopiers -- different stuff to choose from.

i use mostly small pieces of the images in the art. and then too many get covered with paint or other items and i want them back.
From: Nancy Bell Scott

Don't forget dryer lint....there's an artist hereabouts that wraps Barbie dolls in it. And my alltime favorite, smashed rusty bottle caps, but don't take them from my neighborhood parking lots...I want them for myself!

ever use miscellaneous pieces (slices, sort of like mica) of rust from, say,the bottom of a wagon that's been outside for a decade or three? one of my favorite finds. also, smashed eyeglasses from parking lots -- the kind where the frames have been run over by trucks forever. you're right, in fact, parking lots are some of the best hunting grounds. nancy

I recently decided to try some mosaic work, and being in need of tile,mirror and such in short order with no money, tried posting on Freecycle. I got six or seven offers and got some great materials that way. If you're asking for "junk" it's easier to get responses. I've never regretted collecting anything, but I've regretted throwing things away or not picking them up!
From: loel barr

Okay, since we're admitting our secrets....I've collected roadkill...very squashed and dehydrated by the time I found it... squished toad made a great little art piece, but I finally tossed out the squirrel. I had a fellow art classmate long ago called "Dead Dog Dave" who collected fresh road kill, cast it in plaster, then poured liquid clay into the mold to create pottery.

Here's an interview with another bizarre collector/artist I ran across: Oh--and maybe it's been mentioned here before, but a great movie is The Gleaners --

I collect all kinds of things, such as:
1. Old buttons and clip-on earings from the thrift store
2. Plastic net bags that I get my shallots in
3. Egg cartons
4. Candy boxes
5. Rubbings (sometimes I just walk around with paper and a pencil and look for any and all textures that I can get rubbings from. You can use color pencils for variety. Sometimes you can get an
interesting embossement from a texture if you use an embossing tool. I have used wooden stirs and lollipop sticks as embossing tools, although I prefer the real tool)
6. Gourmet coffee labels and stickers (Starbucks has some cool ones)
7. Gourmet (micro-brewery) beer labels, box art, and bottle tops
8. Store catalogs (like Spiegle or Anthropologie)
9. Computer bits (like the non-functional motherboard my husband replaced in his computer)
10. Wire
11. Twine
12. I work in a framing shop and I constantly raid her recyclable garbage dor bits of matt board and foam-core board (which if anyone knows of a use for shards of glass, framing shops throw out a ton
of it)
13. Tissue paper
14. Old calendars
15. Old lace and doilies from the thrift store (you can also, often find bags of yarn, for cheap)
16. Mint tins (like altoids)
17. Old gift cards
18. Nylon screening from screens I have had to replace
19. Hoes and socks (a pair of nylon hoes around a bent hanger can be used as a screen for paper making)
20. Old hard cover books (like the Readers Digest Select
editions which are compilations of condensed contemporary novels, this is so I don't feel guilty for destroying/altering actual literature). Use a little gesso on the pages and you have a new journal to play with.

What do I do? Well, I have played with anything textile for around 15 years. I felt, dye, stitch, burn, glue, paint, bead, basically anything textile based. Sadly I hardly ever do anything
traditional, I like breaking rules far too much. Last year I started to play with paper, copper, wire etc. At the moment I am a full time student taking an 'access to art and design' course with a view
to starting a design crafts degree later this year. So far we have covered constructed drawing, designed the packaging for a face product, made clay tiles, sculptured a clay figure, constructed a 3d wire sculpture, card pop ups,life drawing, self portrait, still life painting and art history. At the moment I am carving an abstract figure from masonite, learning to use photoshop, trying to write a 2000 word essay on Manet.......and basically tearing my hair out. It is exciting, but extremely hard work!


At 9:12 PM, Blogger Sharon K. Shubert said...

I admit it~ I'm definately an art pack rat!

Here's a few more things:

game pieces

sheet music

music catalogs

clothing price tags

seed pods


dried leaves to decoupage

scraps of paper for confetti


locks of hair

fishing line

pine cones (you can take these apart and use small pieces)

bread ties (peel the paper off and you have very thin wire. I have used it for butterfly antennas)

moveable eyes

horse hair

bird's nest

dried fern

That's all that comes to mind at the moment. :)

Sharon aka Redlady

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Salish & Me said...

Somethings I have been playing with lately are:

Joint Compound



Joint compound is great to play with. I use a squirt of spray adhesive on my surface and then just butter it with the compound or spackle. Leave it for a few minutes and then use combs to add texture, stamps..etc. You can imbed little things in it.

On one ATC I did I pressed a big leave stamp into the jc, let it dry and then painted the leaves in fall colors.



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