Ever watch MacGuyver? The TV show, which ran 7 seasons, from 1985 to 1992, followed the ever-resourceful secret government agent MacGyver. This guy is a hottie scientist (is that an oxymoron?), a bomb technician, and a Vietnam vet. He's constantly in situations where he has to solve complex problems--problems which often could kill himself or others if not solved IMMEDIATELY--with everyday materials he finds around him. He can use chewing gum, duct tape, and a Swiss Army knife to get himself out of pretty much any situation. He fights the bad guys without a gun. He fights them with his mad intelligence. He's calm, cool, and collected, never breaking a sweat or mussing his awesome mullet.
About now, you're wondering why I'm sharing this. Well, I fancy myself a modern-day MacGyver, only instead of duct tape and a Swiss Army knife, my tools of trade are the sorts of things you find around your house or, at the very least, at your local thrift store or yard sale.
Over the years, I've honed my squirreling skills. I squirrel away items I think will be useful in my art. To the untrained eye, these items might seem useless in that capacity:
Here we have a spaghetti measurer (for those people who actually concern themselves with carbohydrate portion control)And here we have a plastic doily--the type most of your grandma's have covering up any and all surfaces.
Any game players here? Brand new games often have pieces which need to be punched out. I save the pieces of cardboard after punching out the pieces. Or I ask friends to save them for me. These are special friends who probably secretly roll their eyes or think I'm crazy, but they do what I ask anyway, which is the best kind of friend...don't you think?
This is a 49-cent metal star. I'm not sure what its intended purpose is. It's really too small to hold anything.
This is a paper plate holder. It was 20 cents.
This is a beheaded fly swatter.
Sometimes my dog helps the artistic process. He found this badminton shuttlecock while out on one of our walks.
So aside from sounding like a candidate for Hoarders, what do these things have in common? Awesome patterns! I use them to stencil. I use Glimmermist or make my own colored mists using reinkers and perfect pearls. Or if I'm in a graffiti mood, I take the whole operation outside and use spraypaint.
Have I mentioned that I save everything? This is the paper towel I used to dry off my stencils after each application. I later stamped the paper towel with a foam butterfly stamp and acrylic paint, which yielded a Batik-y look.
And what was I working on in the first place? Well, I'm in a collage group, and each time I send off a collage, I like to send it in style--with colorful envelope art. I'd like to think I'm momentarily making the post office workers happy. If this was a TV series, I'd be using my art to bring those workers down from the metaphorical edge. I'd be stenciling to prevent them from "going postal."
Even if you can't imagine yourself sending out mail in decorated envelopes, can you imagine the money you'd save on wrapping paper if you created your own? Or if you're at a loss for a project for the kiddos, why not let them lose with some household stencils and a large sheet of newsprint out in the backyard?
So what household items are you ignoring? What new tools can you add to your studio?