Media Deprivation Week Follow Up Week Four

The discussion was most interesting vis a vis the week of media FREEDOM. Thanks for the more positive word, Lorraine! As a new smartphone user I was just sucked into the vortex of such a way cool toy and loaded it with apps of varying degrees of relevance or usefulness (Big Bang Whip anyone?) and daily kept tweaking it adding pings and notifications for texts, emails, FB and the like. Well, I realized that this 24/7 contact availability AND notifications were basically 100% superfluous and are actually rather intrusive imho and take me out of the present. I definitely noticed the days I HAD my phone in the Artist Way group and the days I either left it at home or in the car quietly charging.

Kudos to the people who did manage to survive 5 or 6 or 7 days successfully without EXCESSIVE use of media social and otherwise and survived without superfluous reading other than the Artist Way chapter. In fact, I opened up the session by telling the group that people are not paying a whole lot of money to go to somewhere exotic for a MEDIA DETOX. I read about this elsewhere and was of course bemused when I read that just as soon as everyone’s DRUG of choice was returned at the end people where frenetically using their smartphones to put everyone’s contact number/FB/Twitter/LindedIn etc. connection on their phone! Now whether the participants in these Media Detox Experiences actually modified their behaviour the article did not say but it would be an interesting follow up study.

As for me, although my adherence to the Media Freedom week was inconsistent due to a couple of emotional upheavals in my life I can proudly say that I did NOT buy OR READ The National Enquirer last week, my tabloid drug of choice and all the pings, rings and this anonymous but terribly sexy man announcing, “Hey, beautiful! You have a text message…” are off and will remain off.

I was at a writers’ festival at Hazelwood Herb Gardens last week and I didn’t have my phone with me but someone in the audience did and from time to time I heard the telltale notifications. They were subtle and not too noticeable but as a new smartphone addict I definitely noticed them and found them annoying…as I surmised other people in my sphere found mine. I miss my text notification guy sometimes but the male sender of the texts has been ‘cut loose’ so it’s probably a good thing in order to move forward.

10 Found Objects for Mixed Media from Cloth/Paper/Scissors Magazine

10. Old paintbrushes (and other grungy tools). I picked these because my artist husband is also a painter in the home décor sense of the word. So I have a steady supply of brushes with nice crusty handles and soft-hued bristles to turn into collages, assemblages and other recycled crafts.

9. Keys. I think keys are high on artists list because they are plentiful, graphically interesting, and are loaded with symbolism. Also, they do not take up too much space.

8. Boxes or containers to upcycle into shadow boxes. If you are an assemblage artist or just want and interesting way to mount your art, these are essential. I myself am partial to old drawers. Fortunately, containers like these are plentiful. Unfortunately, they take up a lot of space. Editing is essential.

7. Old jewelry. When a mixed-media piece needs a little “something,” vintage jewelry often fits the bill.

6. Ephemera. Receipts, tickets, or anything else with numbers makes a graphic statement. Paper with lines, grids, or vintage handwriting can also be upcycled into backgrounds. To avoid ephemera overload, find a few categories you are most drawn to and limit yourself to those. (For example, I always snatch up used wrapping paper but find I almost never use it again. So out it goes.)

5. Containers with interesting bottoms for stamping. Collecting these can easily put your found object stash over the top (literally), so I try to keep to a few favorites, such such as Dairy Queen® cups and Fuze® bottles.

4. Old books. Now here’s another plentiful source for upcycled projects. You can make upcycled art out every part of an old book, but the pages, especially, can be used in sculpture, collage, paper art, journaling, and so on. Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Jenn Mason says she recently began collecting vintage cookbooks with personal recipes written in the margins. Hmmmm. That sounds dangerous.

upcycling ideas by erin partridge
Painted stick from nature provide texture in
this piece by Erin Partridge.
3. Nature finds. Shells, rocks, pinecones–nature is generous. Here again, though, you could end up with buckets full of this stuff if you don’t constantly edit. Ask me about the cottage cheese containers full of acorns I have squirreled away, sometime.

2. Bubble wrap. I confess to being a hoarder of this snappy wrapping, but honestly, it is my favorite background stamp. I never refuse it.

1. Buttons. Almost everyone I asked cited buttons as a favorite found object. I have to agree. Most buttons–especially vintage ones–are little works of art in themselves. They offer color, shine, texture, and beauty to most any art project. I don’t think you can ever have too many. Just sort them by color in jars and let them serve as décor.

Now that I know which objects I like to use best (and which to limit), I can get down to the real business: turning them into art.

I find the objects themselves inspiring. But when I need upcycling ideas, the artist tutorials on Craft Daily offer how-tos and helpful hints I might not have thought of otherwise.