Saturday, May 21, 2011

Doing More with Less

Art supplies are expensive. I shudder to think how much I have spent over the years, especially since I have so many artistic interests and they all require their own set of tools and media. To make matters worse, new tools and gadgets keep coming out that are oh-so-tempting. You can never have enough art paper. Really. Ok, maybe you can, especially if you are like me and fall in love with those beautiful, fluttering treasures and can’t stand to “ruin” them by, gasp, actually using them. (I know, I’m working on that.)

This causes two issues: 1. Supplies are expensive and my budget doesn’t leave much wiggle room for extras and 2. Some of those supplies become too precious to use, especially if they are both gorgeous and expensive.

Both those issues interfere with my goal to make more art. My solution is this: to repurpose items that would otherwise be recycled or thrown away. I know, this is nothing new, and plenty of other people have come to this realization as well. But for me, it’s progress.

My favorite repurposed item is the cereal box. It makes an excellent substrate for a variety of projects, from bookmaking to mixed media collages. It is also a great art supply for kids. Mine run through paper so quickly (often making just a few marks before deciding they need another piece of paper), that an alternate source for things to draw, paint and collage on is a relief. Plus, I’m not ruining a precious material, as my household goes through an inordinate number of cereal boxes that would otherwise be recycled. The downside is it’s not archival, but since much of what I’m doing right now is practice and experimentation, this isn’t such a huge issue to me.

So do you have a favorite repurposed material you use in your art?

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