The Scrap Box has been a staple in Ann Arbor since the early 80s, and was my absolute favorite place to go as a kid. Whenever there was a special event to celebrate, or I had a few extra bucks from chores - this is where I begged my parents to take me.
The Scrap Box is is a donation-based creative reuse PARADISE, filled with all sorts of odds and ends, like thin-chopped white tubing, fantastic spongy shapes, nylon in every color of the rainbow, green nettings, yarns, papers, pieces of wood…. I couldn’t attempt to name everything they have! It’s all been donated by area businesses/individuals and provides kids/artists/educators/explorers with access to neat materials for very cost.
As a child I would make 3D paintings, sculptures and scenes out of these bits and pieces - now as a working artist it is my haven for still life supplies. Especially when I’m teaching a class or breaking down my process, having access to all this weird stuff is amazing.
And if I’m setting up a still life for just me, I really appreciate having a cache of items that I don’t necessarily understand (or know what they are!) to scatter on a table. It keeps me from assigning meaning to their placement and sketch.
I usually combine the Scrapbox treasures with a few vases/cups I picked up at our thrift store add some crumpled paper, then get to work.
This is one of my favorite exercises to start the day with, or if I’m feeling just a little stuck - making some interesting (not necessarily pretty!) arrangements and sketching from these tends to yield some results that beg other questions, that warrant more sketching and exploration.
On Saturday I’ll be taking these supplies with me up to the MSU Broad Art Lab - where I’ll be setting up a few of these still lifes and teaching a little workshop on my contour drawing process. There’s still a few spaces left if you are in the area!
It was so wonderful to walk into the Scrap Box this week and gather a few extra items for Saturday’s class. This is the first I’ve been in since we moved back and I already have plans for more of the materials I saw there. Walking through the barrels in the bulk room gave me the same feeling as way back when; (except that now I am tall enough to actually see into the barrels!) endless inspiration, limitless possibility and knowing that I’m about to need A LOT more glue.