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Make Art Not Waste

Grabbing things from around the house to create art has always been thrilling to me. My mom would tell you this came in the form of napkins dotted with marker, sewn with thread, or various displays atop my dressers with my toys or trinkets. Scrap paper, buttons, mini pom-poms, broken glass and sequins were all treasures to me. Long before Pinterest and the Internet, I would imagine what I could do with my little collections.

Flash forward to today and my feeble attempts not to hoard craft items. In trying to be diligent about not over-stuffing my closets, I have to admit I can be ruthless in getting rid of or giving away things. Part of this comes from moving so much, but also that I love to share. During my early mom years, I was eager to start crafting and painting and sharing my excitement for art with my kids. As soon as possible, I put a brush in their hand. This soon became a mission, to find age-appropriate crafts and give myself a creative outlet as well. I enjoyed our sessions just as much as they did.

So without overdoing it, I wanted to start a little collection. Bins and boxes I could share with my children so they could also use their little imaginations to create. This started with buying heavily discounted craft items at craft stores or my local favorite, Marc’s. In addition, I collected certain items from around my home. Over time, my kids have developed a healthy interest in art. I tried not to expect them to love creating, but give them the freedom to play with materials. Some of my favorite ideas were beyond simple, and there are millions of ways to find easy crafts online. We’ve used leaves, cardboard, tape, glue, flour, paper, paint, shoe boxes, sticks from the yard and everything under the sun. From fairy houses and worm huts to decoupage canvases and scrapbooks, we are masters of repurposing items.

We might not know algebra, but we sure can craft! Hey, we all have our thing. And I was not a math major.

As you can imagine, my work involves paint so I lean on my stock when it’s time to craft it up. I save a bin of acrylic paint for my kids. It includes the tubes with just a little bit left. You can add water and shake these and make use of them when they are really low (fun to splatter!). The roughed up brushes from class are great for kids too, so they have a whole box to pick from when it seems the brush has run its course for use with grown ups.

You definitely don’t have to be an artist by trade to let your kids’ imagination soar. And since we’re all pretty short on time, just grab your smart phone and search up a simple craft with items from around the house. One thing I recently used to create art was latex paint (always be sure the materials are safe if you’re creating with little ones, this is a good project for a kid who is a little older). I was commissioned by Summit ReWorks to prepare a canvas during a 3-day window at Summit Artspace in Akron. I painted alongside fellow local artists and put old latex paint to use in a very practical way.

The art created from the project is for sale in the gallery, and was displayed during an open house in the fall during the Akron Artwalk. Participants were given access to the gallery, use of latex paint and a stipend. We utilized our own brushes and tools. Some very amazing art resulted from the project! Proceeds from each piece are split evenly between the artists and Summit ReWorks, with the ReWorks donation being used to educate the public on how to safely dispose of latex paint.

Most importantly, I was able to bring my little girl along to spend some time in the big studio. She loves to reuse anything to create art, even her carrots.

The project was organized by Summit Reworks, and demonstrated a way to put to use product that would otherwise be discarded.

When it is time to let go of latex paint, you can learn more about the proper way to dispose of it here (even includes a little video):

Summit Reworks provides great resources to help us minimize waste. Check out their tips and more about how you can proactively reduce waste:

For pictures of the art created by this event see here:

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