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Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Loves Me Some Free Art Supplies

My niece, paint-morphed, holding her baby grrrl's ECHO Bear and matching ECHO Tote

Way (way) back in the 70’s, I was introduced to the concept of “conspicuous consumption”, which it turns out, was coined in the 19th century by a sociologist to describe the behaviors of the Industrial Age nouveau riche, but which, by the 20th, had changed in meaning to:
"The act of buying a lot of things, especially expensive things that are not necessary”
O.k., so define “necessary”, will ya? Aren’t shoes “necessary”? What about kitchen utensils? And jackets? Maybe I am getting a little defensive here because when it comes to art supplies, I waver between my firm belief that all are “necessary”, and my hidden self-admission that I buy way too many.  
Let’s not even talk about the art collection I have bought from other people.
Conspicuous.  Consumption.  And proud of it.
In my own way, I try to curb my buying habit be being ever-on-the-lookout for FREE!!!! art supplies. I especially love the challenge of finding and using materials that were purposed for “single use only” (oh, pu-leeze!) then expected to go to the land-fill. So much of it everywhere, so little time to make it useful again. Like a daily treasure-trove of inexhaustible and fabulous components--of inexhaustible, fabulous arts and crafts (I'm coming frighteningly close to being mistaken for a hoarder, aren't I?).  Fortunately; I really do use what I find, as this picture demonstrates.  Except for the thread I sewed them with, the button I used for the bear’s mouth and the 5 zip-ties, all the materials in the ECHO Bear and its matching ECHO Tote came from one-use-only products.  Not sounding like “conspicuous consumption” anymore, is it?
I like to share the wealth and will be doing lots of sharing this June 27-29 at my house near Lake Hodges in Southern California. Along with Lisa Bebi and Pam Carriker   we’ve organized an art retreat to include creating art all day, eating delicious food and reflecting on the part art plays in keeping us healthy in our daily lives. Interested in attending? Contact me for more details.
Oh, P.S: Michael's is having a HUGE art supply sale today, so ta-ta for now. See ya in the next go-around.


  1. I like your style Renee! I also have an art supply monkey on my back! I try to justify it by using everything and creating as constantly as I can. It helps to be able to answer art supply questions about anything too. Your ability to recycle trash to treasure is a sterling act of nobility. I am constantly amazed by your beautiful and engaging work.

  2. ...and not to mention how your bags become wall hangings when they are not in use for their 'intended' purpose! Mine hangs on my bedroom wall and makes me smile every time I walk into the room!

    You will be pleased to know I have started the books with the boys and they are loving it! Challenge 1...getting them to stop smashing the cans with the hammer once they had started! They are loving the process. We are doing just two 'pages' at the moment. I have some photos on the school's computer and will send them to you when I remember to download them to my memory stick! I guess it will take us some time to complete them as we try to fit making them into the timetable along with everything else!

  3. Renee,
    You are a natural blogger.
    All my love,