30 Days of Found Object Art

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I make art every day. Somedays it’s a quick 5-minute collage. Other days I’ll have an hour to work on a single piece or a few at a time. But at some point every day, I schedule time to do something creative. I credit this habit to the monthly challenges I started in January of 2016. Creativebug was offering a month-long drawing challenge hosted by Lisa Congdon. I love her style and I’ve always wanted to develop a drawing practice so I decided to join in. And for extra accountability, I posted my work on Instagram. It was way outside of my comfort zone and literally made me feel sick to my stomach every time I posted one of my sketches, but eventually, it became more about the practice of creating the drawing than it did the worry of what people would think. I later joined another month-long drawing challenge hosted by Pam Garrison. Then I participated in Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) hosted by Daisy Yellow where you create something, anything, on an index card every day for the months of June and July. By mid-year, I could feel the habit forming. It was no longer a task on my to-do list, it was something I craved and I couldn’t go to bed without completing my piece for the day – and not because I felt guilty if I didn’t, but because I felt incomplete.

By the end of 2016 I was hooked and decided to step it up a notch. I committed to a 365-day challenge. I’ve added other monthly challenges in throughout 2017 as well, but my daily project has given me something consistent to work on, something that will be there for me every day. The book I’m working in is very small so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to commit to completing a page in it each day. And I didn’t limit myself by giving it a specific theme. I decided I’d simply find something that inspires me each day and use it to create a page and tell a story. This practice has made me more aware of the world around me. I see the little things I used to overlook (like 4-leaf clovers in the park), and I’ve realized that just about anything can provide inspiration, even the junk I find on the ground or the annoying/difficult things that happen in life.

After participating in so many challenges hosted by other artists, I knew that someday I’d like to host my own. So I decided to take that idea for a test spin and in honor of the launch of my Etsy store, I’ll be using the month of November to create 30 Days of Found Object Art. Every day I’ll create a piece of artwork that was inspired by something I found either on my morning walks with Murphy in the park, in a parking lot, at my kids’ schools, or around my house. Some items will be used as tools, others for color or pattern inspiration, and some may become a story starter. There aren’t any prompts for the month, I will simply respond to the “junk” I find throughout the course of my day. I’ll be posting the artwork every day in Instagram and you can find me here or by searching for my account @mrkanthony (there is also a link on the left side of my blog). I’ve completed the first four days and you can see them below.

Day 1:

 

Day 2:

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Day 3:

Day 4:

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I’d love to have you join me! Don’t worry about catching up, you can start any time you like. Just create something inspired by a found object. If you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to tag me (@mkranthony) and use the hashtag #30daysoffoundobjectart so that I can see your work and follow your journey. And by the end of the month, you’ll have a new habit of looking for inspiration in unexpected places all around you!

Let’s go exploring!

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Join me for Creative Journaling at Junket: Tossed & Found

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Earlier this year I began teaching a monthly Creative Journaling class at Junket: Tossed & Found, an antique and resale store in Minneapolis, MN. Junket not only offers an amazing selection of vintage and second-hand items, but also promotes creative thinking in how we reuse and repurpose materials by offering a wide variety of classes and workshops. I am honored and ecstatic to be a part of that creative team.

My classes are offered on the first Friday of every month from 5:30-7:00 pm (see the Upcoming Events tab for a full list of my classes). Each month I introduce a new creative journaling topic with an emphasis on reusing and repurposing both old and new materials we have in the world around us. There are still a few tickets available for this Friday’s class and they can be purchased by clicking here and selecting the option for the Creative Journaling class on Friday, November 3rd. I will also be teaching a special class on Friday, November 17th as part of the 5th Birthday Celebration for Junket.

I’ve developed a tradition with my classes and at the end of the night, I collect all the paper scraps left behind by participants and bring them home to make a collage for the 365-Day Project I’ve been working on. It’s a great way to remember the evening, the amazing conversations and the lessons I took away from the night. A sample of those collages can be seen at the top of this post and here:

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I’d love to see you at an upcoming class! We always have a great group of people join us who are friendly, welcoming, supportive, encouraging and excited to learn and share ideas. If you have any questions about my classes or Junket, send me a message and I’d be happy to help answer them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Opening Day!

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I’m very excited to announce that my Etsy store is officially open for business! I am slowly working on getting it fully stocked, but I do have a variety of my Found Object Creativity Kits available for purchase.

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Each kit contains:

  • A Found Object Creativity Kit Guidebook – a 14-page book that explains how to use the tools in your kit, provides a list of prompts to get you started and explains how to go on your own found art walk and add to your collection
  • A unique assortment of carefully cultivated found objects to ignite your imagination (there is a combination of both natural and man-made objects included)
  • A packet of paper scraps
  • A handmade book from reused materials for note taking and mark-making exploration

Each object in your kit, including the container itself, can be used as an art supply. For example, the jar can be filled with water for painting, the lid can be turned into a paint palette and the envelope with the paper scraps can be glued into your journal to hold treasures you collect on your own found art walk.

You can click here to visit the store or you can search on Etsy for the store name: TheFoundArtWalk.  I have more items that will be listed soon so check back for updates!

Join me Monday at the Minnesota Center for Books Arts!

I’m excited to share that I will be the guest speaker on Monday, July 17th at the monthly meeting for the Visual Journaling Collective at the Minnesota Center for Books Arts. I’ll be sharing my story about The Found Art Walk, my passion for using found objects in my work and my current project: The Found Object Creativity Kits (if you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you may have heard about these. If not, I’ll be making an announcement here soon so stay tuned!) I will also be bringing a portion of my collection of found objects for people to try out. Bring your own journal to work in and I’ll provide the objects, paint and other tools. There is no cost for the meeting, it is free and open to the public (adults only, sorry, no children are allowed at these meetings). I hope to see you there!

Monday, July 17th
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
1011 Washington Avenue S., Suite 100
Minneapolis MN 55415

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Weekly Color Palette Inspiration

Color plays a huge role in everything I do. It influences my art, what I wear, magazine and book covers I’m drawn to and how I decorate my house. I have my go-to palette – those colors I absolutely adore and can’t stop using. But sometimes we need to shake things up and break out of our typical color palette. It can be hard. I’ll scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to see color combinations other people are using, but the best inspiration is from random encounters with color in my daily life. Some of my favorite combinations have come from litter I see in the park on my walks with Murphy and how it is randomly blown together by the wind to create a beautiful palette of colors I never would have thought to use.

Each week I’ll share a combination of colors that I’ve found to help inspire you to try some that you may not typically use. This week’s palette was collected from the park where I walk and the parking lot at my daughter’s daycare.

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I’d love to see how these colors inspire you. Use #thefoundartwalkcolors if you post them to Instagram. I’ll share my own creations on the blog and on Instagram later this week.

Have fun playing with color this week!

Creating a Gratitude Banner from Found Materials

I am always looking for new ways to use or reuse household items. This has rubbed off on my daughter Lucy. She never throws anything away, instead she hands it to me and says, “here, this is for art projects.” One of my favorite techniques is dipping an empty toilet paper roll in paint and using it as a stamp on journal pages. They make great circles, but are also easy to reshape so that you can create other unique stamps on your page. But the cardboard tubes are really durable and will last quite some time so I am constantly thinking of other ways to re-purpose them.

One day I was holding an empty roll while I was doing something else and began to mindlessly unravel the cardboard. Then I folded it half and realized that it made two perfect triangles that could be used for pieces in a banner.

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The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday gave me an idea for a banner that would combine Lucy’s love of giving me things for art projects with a lesson in gratitude for my kids. So I gave Lucy the assignment of helping me collect empty toilet paper rolls, a job she was very happy to accept (hopefully she’ll be as excited about cleaning up her room someday).

In order to create a banner, you only need a few simple materials:

  • Toilet paper rolls (each one either makes two triangular banner pieces if you cut it in half, or if you prefer to have a slightly thicker piece, you can simply fold it over and glue, staple or tape the two halves together to make one piece).
  • Twine or ribbon to connect the banner pieces
  • Scissors
  • Materials to decorate your pieces (paint, markers, collage materials, glue, stickers, stamps, stencils and ink, glitter, etc… The sky is the limit, you can make your banner as fancy or as simple as you desire)
  • A hole punch or awl

Begin by deciding how many banner pieces you’ll need. I wanted my banner to say “Give Thanks” so I cut 10 pieces.

Since the tube was round, the edges of your pieces will turn up a bit when you cut them. You can either place them under a stack of books overnight or iron them (I placed a thin cloth between the cardboard and the iron). If you iron them, you must do this before you add paint and/or ephemera.

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Once you have the correct number of flattened pieces, you can begin to decorate them. I kept my design relatively simple and chose a few of my favorite colors of paint, collage materials, a stencil and rubber stamps for the letters. You will need to punch holes in the corners of your pieces so that they can be strung together. You can either do this before you apply your design or after, it’s really up to you.

When you are happy with your design and you’ve allowed enough time for materials to dry (if necessary), you are ready to string the pieces together. Cut a piece of string, twine or ribbon to your desired length. Thread your twine through the front hole of your first banner piece (depending on what type of twine or string you use, you may need to tie knots around the holes to keep the banner pieces in place). Run the twine behind the piece then through the next hole and out the front. Tie another knot if necessary. Repeat this sequence for the remaining pieces, but be sure to allow some space between them on the banner and enough space on the ends to hang it up.

Once you’re done, clip the twine and hang your banner!

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I am working on teaching my kids about gratitude and how important it is to be thankful not only for the big things in our lives, but the little things too. So once our banner was hung on the wall, I grabbed a stack of sticky notes and a Sharpie and asked my kids (ages 2 and 5) what they are thankful for. Very quickly the wall was filled with amazing, heartwarming thoughts of gratitude and love (including Becca’s love for bananas). It’s on a wall in a hallway that gets a lot of traffic in our house so we will constantly be reminded of all the things we have to be thankful for. And I left the stack of sticky notes and Sharpie out so that we can continue to add to it all season long.

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I’d love to see the banners you create! If you post pictures to Instagram, be sure to use #TheFoundArtWalkGratitudeBanner