My name is Irene and I love arts and crafts. As a child I loved to camp with my large family, make things from scraps, paint pictures and write stories.
Growing up in Albany, California, I saw the Emeryville mudflat sculptures almost every day from the freeway. These whimsical, wooden things mystified and inspired me. I thought about making one myself, but I was too little. In school, we often made things from scraps, like decorated crowns out of construction paper, papier-mâché puppets out of newspapers strips, and wooden baskets out of popsicle sticks.
As I grew older, I often “forgot” to be creative. I worked. I paid my taxes, and made a good living as a graphic designer. In fact, things were getting pretty dull as I grew older.
One Saturday I went to the Maker Fair in Menlo Park, California.
Among the many wonderful things I saw at the Maker Fair, I discovered this life size puppet that looks sort of like a white rabbit. The puppet was made of white shaggy fur over a wire frame, attached to the handles of a bicycle handlebar. It moved and it blinked it’s pretty eyes at me. I was so enchanted that I never even noticed the Airstream trailer behind the rabbit!
I stayed at the fair until sundown, watching a steam engine run an antique printing press, and watching the glass blowers and blacksmiths at work.
The Makers Fair reminded me of one art fair from childhood. When I was a young girl in the early 1970’s, my own community had an art fair that took place somewhere around U.C. Berkeley. I had one of the best days of my life. In the middle, a group of men were building a fabulous monolith about 16 foot tall, out of junkyard finds, trashcan lids and old tires, all roped on top a flatbed trailer. As I came closer to admire it, they just smiled and gave me a hammer. I spent hours, hammering tin cans and plastic butter lids onto it, and also making daisy chains of soda pop tabs, to decorate it with. When finished, we hung the daisy chains with the words, peace and hope on top of it. Can you imagine that? The monolith had become a community symbol of reawakening, peace and hope.
My supportive parents sent me to many art classes from then on.
Now in this blog, I’ll be showing you my own box of scraps, and write about using your artistic mind to turn scraps into fine art. I hope to entertain you, and also inspire you to try some art projects yourself.