Paper is a banal material, which is common enough for everyone to relate with, yet neutral enough to be given a new lease of life. It is the perfect blank canvas.


The Story of Stuff

April 24, 2009


“From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”

Fun Facts from the Story:

• In the past 3 decades, 1/3 of the planet’s natural resources have been consumed.
• In the U.S. we have LESS THAN 4% of our original forests left.
• 40% of waterways in the U.S. have become undrinkable.
• The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste.
• The average U.S. person now consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago.
• We each see more advertisements in one year than a people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime.
• In the U.S., we spend 3–4 times as many hours shopping as our counterparts in Europe do.
• Each person in the United States makes 4 1/2 pounds of garbage a day. Twice what we each made thirty years ago.

They are working with Facing the Future a non-profit education organization that provides resources and action opportunities on global issues and sustainability for teachers, students and the public. They’re collaborating right now to figure out how to create a curriculum for use in classrooms.

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This video should abosolutely be shown to any group of people ESPECIALLY our students in conjunction with lessons that involve topics of: litter, pollution, recycling, repurposing, reusing, consumerism, and

the future.

Phoebe Washburn is repurposing disposed paper products to create her urban cityscape installations. The repurposed supplies reflect the waste of the city as the city reflects the consumerism of its population. This artist also created a “self-contained” conveyor belt factory to produce grass for the Deutsch Guggenheim’s sod roof project.
As artists we should always be aware of the materials that we are using as we use in excess to create a successful or not so successful piece. Even if we are “making a statement” I think we should choose wisely, the materials and processes that we are using. This artist exhibits sustainable ways of creating and restructuring found materials.



“Washburn has conceived of Regulated Fool’s Milk Meadow as a self-contained “factory” that incorporates its own product—grass for the project’s sod roof—into the installation over the course of the exhibition. For the first time, the artist integrates mechanics into her work, using a conveyor belt loop to shuttle small plots of soil through different stations for light and water, which nourishes the growth of grass. These “plots” are periodically tended by a “gardener” who plants the seed, allows it to germinate in a greenhouse before shifting the organic matter to the factory where it will mature, and finally places the output on the roof of the structure where it will eventually atrophy and wither, removed from the sustaining system of water and light, thus exhibiting the full cycle of growth and decay.”


Lesson Plan Idea: landscape installations using found objects and discarded materials based on the idea that the urban landscape is madeup of what it discards. how can you translate this idea in your own way?

a blog about preschool gardening techniques

someone’s blog about sustainable art and a blurb about an artist residency program


Jeff Koons - Rabbit

I have a fascination with monumental scale. Something about working large seems to please me. Yet the only thing really stopping me is the financial means. I guess this recession is affecting everyone huh. Anyways, so thinking about how I  could  go large on the cheap, I stumbled upon inflatable art. Inflatable art has been around for some time, yet I  never considered it when trying to go large. Many people are concerned about longevity. Will my work last forever? As much as I would like my work to last through the ages, I believe it’s better to make work with an impact, through scale in my case, than have a piece that will be dull forever. I began researching balloon construction and came across Gary Felix.  Gary constructs large sculptures from Mylar foil. His balloons have been used in manystars84olym events due to their size, cost effectiveness and portability. Yet the foil involved in the construction process wasn’t free, or a reused material. So I continued my search and began looking at even cheaper building materials. That is when I found an artist called Joshua Allen Harris. He creates inflatable art from thin garbage bags. The sculptures are placed on top of the exhaust vents of the New York subway and inflate every time a train goes by. This kind of work is almost where I wanted to be. It’s large, cheap, and quick to construct. Thought, the materials still had to be bought. I finally arrived at my turning point when I realized the foil Gary Felix was using, was the same foil used in food packaging materials. It was the same material chip bags are made form. Chips, voila, those tasty treats that everyone seems to enjoy. I always see chip bags on the street, in the trash, in the hallways of some schools, everywhere. So balloonanimalsthat is what I chose to construct my prototype from. What better way to make large DIY sculpture with meaning that with hundreds of discarded chip bags. There are hundreds of logos, varieties, sizes, the possibilities are just endless. So get out there, go green, go cheap, go large!


One can adapt his lesson with students ranging from 3rd all the way up to 12th grade. One can begin by having the students start collectng chips bags, all kinds of bags. They can collect them by picking them up off the street, trash, buying chips, etc. The class will then wash the bags of and dry them. After that, the class can begin to design a sculpture with the materials. The bags can be cut into various sizes and be heat sealed by placing two pieces of wax paper, one on top and one on the bottom of the bags and pressing th bags lightly with an iron. The iron should be on a low setting. The sculpture will be a collaboration between the whole class and will also be a kind of quilt. Pieced together little by little. Not only will the class be able to  create an impressive piece of art, they will also be cleaning up their community. Hurray for re-use!

Sticky Standouts

April 8, 2009

When we think of sculpture, many may envision clay, bronze, ceramic, etc. Though all those mediums may be valid and very present throughout the art world, what about hose mediums that “stick” out.Lion Pride Tape sculpture is just one of the many new mediums being experimented and developed in this day and age. There are many advantages to using tape as a sculptural medium. It comes in many varieties, clear, opaque, smooth, etc. Tape can also be used to make rough casts of objects or forms very quickly, due to its ability to adhere to itself.  Tape can be drawn on with permanent markers, painted on, hand formed, and the list goes on. A very skilled use of this medium can be found when looking at the work of Rune Olsen. Olsen’s work is created with tape, paper, markers, or graphite, and acrylic medium. The artist first roughs out a maquete from paper, he then starts wrapping it with tape and builds the form to his desired shape/sculpture. After he has finished taping out and shaping his sculpture, he draws on the piece with markers, graphite, colored markers, etc. He then finishes the piece by sealing it with clear acrylic medium. This is a very sophisticated and involved process of 2803321952_f224d2fda1tape sculpture. On the other spectrum, we have tape sculpture created by Mark Jenkins. The picture to the left is an example of students using the techniques taught my Mark to make life-size body casts. The process involved in making these casts is a four part system. You wrap whatever object or form you want to cast with cling wrap, you then wrap several layers of tape over that , cut the piece out, tape the seams together, and viola your done. Tape sculpture on the fly. So if you ever want to make some sculpture, cheap, fun, and fast, look no further, TAPE is you medium.


Have the students create conceptual self portraits with tape and paper. Have them answer somehand questions about themselves. Have them think about what makes them them. The sculptures should all be based off hand castings, mostly because they are easy to cast and can be very expressive. Have them consider what are their interests, hobbies, etc. Then have them create a sketch based on those answers, and finally a sculpture from that sketch. I created my prototype with a tree, because I enjoy nature.


Tape sculpture photo gallery

boyslife_crossMathias “Spider” Schergen is a Chicago native, working with found materials and adaptive techniques. A teacher as well, he pulls objects literally from the world around him. From scrap wood, car parts, wire, broken tools, fabric, to discarded toys, all pf these and more act as platforms and foregrounds for his work. Constructions of every possible material, which activate to create any possible angle, truly speak for themselves.


This practice can be easily adapted into the classroom by assigning students to collect 3-5 non-related objects from round the house or neighborhood (with proper restrictions applied) and construct a new form entirely to their own the next day in class. 


untitled1 soldier  

DIY Sedaris Style

April 7, 2009

amy sedaris makes fun stuff with pantyhoes, googley eyes, and a bag-o-beans!

so lately i have been obsessed with watching am sedaris on lettermon videos on youtube because she is hilarious and really weird. and on one of the shows she intorduced her book “i like you” wich has crazy cute crafty ideas that aren’t the normal martha stuart deals. in this book she teaches you how to make fake cakes to fool your friends, googly eyed pets, how to be a good hostess (sedaris style) and all the wonderfull things that you can make with pantyhoes. among some of her ideas are flower pot hangers, bagobean pets, and tons of other stuff. so i have included some more ideas of what to make with pantyhoes.

lesson idea: elementary making nylon puppets and have a play!

Pantyhoes dolls equals creepy fun for all save those tights ladies!

Pantyhoes dolls equals creepy fun for all save those tights ladies!

need some pantyhoes decor?  thats what there for!

need some pantyhoes decor? thats what there for!


stop lookin' like a hag make a bag!

stop lookin' like a hag make a bag!