The art emergency kit, and challenges
(an assortment of ideas)

Office dolls..
Take a ruler and some Post-It notes. Make a doll with them. If you have some clay or Fimo, or even some chewing gum, make a stand for your doll. Display her prominently. Encourage people to rearrange the Post-It notes, if they want to play, too.

Art Emergency Kit
Place an "art emergency kit" in your car: A sketch pad. Pencils, a kneaded rubber eraser, and a sharpener. A glue stick (replace often, they dry out in the heat). A small hand-drill (Fiskars makes a good one). Copper or brass craft wire (some medium weight, and some really thin). An assortment of beads. A spool of hemp twine, and one of skinny ribbon in a bright color. A medium-sized crochet hook. A big needle. All-purpose scissors (I like the ones that will cut through a soda can). Embroidery floss. Duct tape or electrical tape. Maybe an awl and a small hammer, too.

With this kit, you're all set for wildly original and spontaneous art:

When you have time in the car, waiting for kids, create something! Start an art/travel journal. Pick up little bits of stuff (from the bottom of your purse? between the cushions where the kids sit?) and make a collage. Sketch what you see around you.

Using very fine craft wire, crochet some earrings. Use your drill (or an awl) to make holes in found things that you'll crochet into whatever-it-is. Can you imagine the conversations your earrings will start?

Or, next time you're someplace with lots of stuff on the ground (beach, camping, amusement park, forest, ballpark, quick-stop grocery, McD's?), take a few moments to assemble a doll, a sculpture, or even a book of found materials.

Either display it prominently, or fasten it to your car antenna, or leave it so someone else will find it and be amazed.

Since then...

I have modified my kit. I've added several plastic baggies, some of them with the sliding seal on them, to carry stuff home. I've added a little kid's sand shovel, for digging in the dirt or at the beach. I've added a couple of wet-wipe thingies, for dirty/sandy hands, and a small face towel to brush the beach sand off my feet when I return to the car. Also, I'm going to include a small, jeweler's type set of pliers, probably needle-nosed, for working with wire. My latest art emergency kit also includes some oil pastels. I buy these cheap at Staples or any office supply store. Get the larger set if you can; it's about $7 US.

Also, because I've become a camera person lately, I carry a small, cheap camera with me. Right now, that's a $12 Smena 35, which is a plastic 35mm camera with a simply amazing lens. It's not for everyone, because it's a manual camera. In other words, you have to set the lens to the film speed, then set the distance you figure the subject is (in meters), and then how bright you estimate the light is.

If you prefer point-and-shoot cameras, toss a disposable into your art emergency kit. You never know when the ground fog will be just so, or the sunset will be breathtaking. Besides, once you get used to taking photos, you'll have a ready supply of copyright-free images for future collages. Life is goooood! *grin*

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All original text, photos, and art are 2000, Aisling D'Art.