Anyone who rules the Land of Lost Luggage knows a thing or two we ordinary mortals overlook. Julie, the chief sorceress of this magical realm, occasionally treats all of us to one her excellent tutorials and some good advice. Take it from me, Julie's tutorials are not to be missed. I guarantee you'll learn something you will use again and again. See her latest HERE.
In a follow-up post, she urged readers to use what they have. I love this, since this has been my philosophy, too. I hope Julie doesn't mind if I add to her suggestion. There is so much that is out there to be had without spending a penny. To whit:
1. Old magazines. Of course you're going to give a batch to the senior center, but before you recycle the rest, reuse them. Try to see familiar images in unfamiliar ways and don't be afraid to alter them ala Teesha Moore.
2. Homemade art paper. Michelle Ward has tons of tutorials on how to make your own tools and create beautiful art papers. Try the crayon resist method or homemade rubber stamps. One warning though -- some of her techniques are addictive.
3. Junk mail. Tear up those Chinese take-out menus, catalogs and the liners inside bill envelopes. And don't forget old phone book pages, seed packets and that mountain of fliers your schoolkids bring home. The latter is great for turning into art paper.
4. Book sales. Around here the last two days of a book sale are free. The truth is sale organizers often cart whatever is left over to the dump, so you're actually doing them a favor. Those old art history textbooks that no one wants are particularly tasty. Just don't be like me and feel you have to rescue all the unloved poets.
5. Your library. Now we know you aren't going to photocopy anything that is copyrighted, but there's plenty that's in the pubic domain. And if you're in doubt, that is what the reference librarian is there for. Your library might even have some of the Dover books that are made to be used by artists. And don't forget books with old maps and charts.
6. Your children's drawings. I don't mean the darling ones you'll keep forever. But how about the other ones, the ones that even your budding Picasso or O'Keefe dismisses with a wave of a tempera-painted hand? The ones that were the product of keeping your 3-year-old busy while his big sister was in the dentist's chair. Yes, those.
7. Old holiday and birthday cards. Not the ones that were lovingly made by hand, but those other ones that you were happy to receive but quick to toss. Or if you're a pack rat like me, lay forgotten in a drawer somewhere.
8. Your scanner. Being one of the last dinosaurs without a digital camera, I depend on my scanner for this blog. Using it so much has opened my eyes to its possibilities. I scan all kinds of things from nature. Instant art! Try some beautiful fall leaves. You'll really be able to capture their brilliance.
9. Old photos. Why buy vintage ephemera when you have your own vintage photos? Scan some of those family photos and use them in your collages. Not only are they free, the significance of your work will be so much greater.
10. Gift wrap. That birthday present was so beautiful before your 10-year-old turned it into confetti in about ten seconds. Next time, save some pieces and throw them on your scrap pile. Ditto paper from showers, anniversaries and Christmas. And don't overlook the tissue paper. Layered tissue can be quite beautiful.
That should get you started. And just think -- you'll be saving money and the environment. Doing this will even get your creative muscles working. You'll see familiar things with new eyes. And isn't that part of the reason we do art in the first place?
So get over to Julie's and learn what to do with your new-found treasures. Just be sure to heed her advice and limit it to two drawers. There is such a thing as too many riches.