Category Archives: Non-Traditional Materials

The House of Dreams Museum

wright4wrightwright3Stephen Wright is an artist and designer from East Dulwich, an area of south London, England. About 31 years ago, he began transforming his house and garden into the House of Dreams Museum. He was inspired to create the museum after viewing Jarvis Cocker’s documentaries on outsider art, called Journeys into the Outside with Jarvis Cocker (which I highly recommend watching). His museum is full of elaborate mosaics and found object sculptures. It also serves as a shrine for his memories and a tribute to his deceased partner and parents. It was bequeathed to the National Trust and is open to the public. The visiting hours are listed on his website. 


Image Credits: Stephen Wright, www.stephenwrightartist.com

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Bee Habitats as Art

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Greg Corman is a landscape designer and artist living in Tuscon, Arizona. He creates his work from recycled or salvaged wood, found objects, and steel. The above images are examples of his bee habitat sculptures, which are functional forms of art. The sculptures have holes and tunnels drilled into them to provide bees with brood chambers for their babies. He states on his website that these functional artworks are nesting spaces for native pollinator bees and do not attract honey or killer bees.


Artwork Credit: © Greg Corman, cormanart.com

Toothpick Arts & Crafts for Kids

To go along with my recent post about toothpick art, I have found some fun projects for kids.  I love the idea of working with nontraditional art supplies that are either lying around the house or affordable to buy. Toothpicks are definitely easy to come across.  Loosely inspired by the work of artists Scott Weaver and Wayne Kusy, here are a few ideas I came across. (The project credit goes to the links under each photo.)

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Toothpick cacti from Mod Podge Rocks

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Toothpick Toadstools for a fairy garden from Magic Onions

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Cute hedgehog project from Crafts N Coffee

 

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Toothpick Artists

weaver-1weaver-4weaver-2Scott Weaver is a San Francisco-based artist who creates elaborately detailed artwork using only toothpicks and Elmer’s glue. Scott began creating toothpick art in 1968, at the age of 8. His most famous toothpick sculpture is called Rolling Through the Bay, a kinetic sculpture which was constructed using approximately 100,000 toothpicks over the course of 37 years. Scott estimates that it took over 3,000 hours of his time to create the sculpture. The sculpture is 9 feet tall and 7 feet wide.

Wayne Kusy of Chicago is another incredible toothpick artist. I had the honor of meeting him several years ago and helping him with a toothpick art workshop at a Chicago gallery.

Wayne was inspired to start building with toothpicks in fifth grade after completing a school project using his chosen medium. Wayne started small and eventually worked his way up to building toothpick versions of ocean liner models, ranging in length from 4 feet to 25 feet. His largest toothpick sculpture is the 25 foot Queen Mary, which was made using 814,000 toothpicks and 19 gallons of Titebond II.

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Image/Video Credits:
Scott Weaver, Rolling Through the Bay via Tinkering Studio ©
Scott Weaver’s Rolling through the Bay from The Tinkering Studio on Vimeo
Wayne Kusy, Work in progress, via Intuit the Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art
Wayne Kusy, Cutty Sark via Detour Art.

Michelle Stitzlein’s Butterflies & Moths

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moth6webMichelle Stitzlein is an artist from Ohio who works with found and recycled objects. She uses unexpected materials to create her artwork, such as bottle caps, garden hoses, shards of china, old piano keys, and license plates. She has a great sense of color and design and knows how to transform the discarded items into intricate details that make her work come alive. Her butterfly and moth series is striking.

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Michelle is also the author of two art books for children, Bottlecap Little Bottle Cap and Cool Caps! Her website has several great examples of bottle cap art projects.


 

The Linoleum Art of Bill Miller

bill-millerbill-flowersbill-landscapeArtist Bill Miller was a founding member of Industrial Arts Co-Op in Pittsburgh, a group that created large-scale sculptures made of discarded materials found at abandoned industrial sites. The goal of the installations was to bring attention to the damaging impact of industrialization.

While constructing the sculptures, Miller came across an unusual art material: vintage linoleum scraps. He has been creating linoleum masterpieces for over 20 years. His collage-like linoleum paintings are made using only recycled and vintage flooring, no extra paint is added.

Miller’s artwork has been exhibited in several museums and galleries.  To view more of his work, please visit his website at billmillerart.com.


Image Credit: © Bill Miller, billmillerart.com