Everything Is Incredible

Fish2Trashy treasures.

It’s taken years to “train” my colleagues and parents that they should call me before they throw anything out. Over the years, they’ve witnessed the beautiful creations my students make from discarded objects that were thought of as trash. Now, many of them think about me and my super-creative students before placing interesting objects in the dumpster.

For example, three years ago when I first discovered the beautiful plastic fish of David Edgar, I knew I must make them with my students. After studying his designs closely, I asked permission of my Middle School Head, to give me a few minutes of his scheduled faculty meeting time. Permission was granted and I asked every middle school teacher to save empty laundry detergent bottles for me. After six months, I had enough colorful bottles to start a project. Three years later, after that initial announcement, they still bring them in.

Last year, the mother of a former student of mine, who graduated about six years ago, remembered me when she was cleaning out her husband’s closet. She brought me a trash bag full of neckties in every imaginable color and pattern. They are now carefully stored under my desk waiting to be used for just the “right” project.

Fish1This year, the Director of Technology came to me with an idea. The technology department had many old keyboards, hard drives, speakers, clocks, cables, cords and mouse (mice?). They wondered if my upper school students could turn any of this into attention getting wall sculptures for their offices. After some discussion, I decided that I would absolutely like the challenge of this commission!

On Monday, my high school sculpture students began hauling all these old computer parts over to the sculpture room and by Wednesday, the students were given permission to begin disassembling all the parts. What fun! This is what I did as a kid . . . tinker. But kids don’t tinker anymore. They play on their iPads. So when given the chance to open things up and explore their parts, they love it! They were amazed at what these objects look like on the inside. We laughed as we talked about “dissecting a mouse” in Sculpture class!

I invite you to tinker this week. Or, just collect – – anything! Everything is Incredible is a beautiful documentary about a disabled Honduran man. He has been collecting objects and building a helicopter for 50 years! Have a goal and believe in yourself, even when others don’t. Enjoy the film…

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8 thoughts on “Everything Is Incredible

  1. Theadora says:

    Beautiful post, Anita! I’m also a dumpster diver. I’m always on the lookout for street treasures. My. Your fish are beauties! What are your students creating with the old computer parts? More pics, please! Enjoy the week! T. (Thanks for the film lead.)

    • Thank you for your kind reply, Theadora! I wish we could go dumpster diving this coming weekend! Wouldn’t we have fun? The computer parts, once dis-assembled, will become Cubist-type/3-D object collages of faces. They will be re-assembled in shallow plywood built boxes and eventually hung in a grid formation on a large wall. When completed I’ll take photos. These designs will be based, for the most part, on Louise Nevelson’s work.

  2. Kelly J. Black says:

    Thank you once again my friend for a beautiful post and for sharing the amazing video of Agustin’s story. You continue to speak to the artist’s heart within me that I am just beginning to discover and appreciate. Thank you for being my guide, my inspiration and my friend! 🙂

    • Hi, Kelly! I’m so glad you watched “Everything is Incredible.” It truly is an incredible story. You have no idea how thrilled I am to make even the smallest difference in your life in pushing you (anyone) to explore being creative. We are all gifted through the great Creator. All the very best…

  3. Great ideas! I’ve tried for years to donate to art classes but had no takersl. I called schools and libraries to donate my brother’s collection of National Geographics after his death. No one would take them—not even schools in Joplin, after the tornado. Then, by accident, my sister mentioned our search to her pastor. He took my brother’s National Geographic magazines for inspiration for his sermons. The Discovery Center in Springfield took my collection of magazines. There are still creative people in the world but you have to search for them.

    • Dear Gloria, Hmmm…I guess not everyone is a dumpster diver like me! Ha! Although I’ve gotten rid of many household things, I still have four small tables that I’m using that I rescued from “big trash day” at various neighbor’s homes! Sometimes I’ve found that National Geographic magazines, although beautiful, aren’t appropriate for middle school aged kids. They certainly are inspirational for me, the teacher, but I can’t always use the images for classroom activities without a lot of laughter and pointing. It doesn’t take much for 7th grade boys (especially) to get off track! 🙂 I am truly inspired that the pastor took the magazines to inspire his sermons! That is a lovely thought! I wish you were closer…I’d take your magazines!

  4. Jane Ann says:

    Anita, I look forward to your postings every Sunday. All your blogs are inspirational. Thank you for sharing this film and, for again, demonstrating everything is incredible. I have always been amazed how you’ve created so much art out of ordinary objects. What a wonderful film this was.

    • Jane Ann, I’m constantly inspired by the human race. When I find inspiration I want to share it with others. I’m so glad that you continue to be inspired and look forward to my posts! 🙂 Thank you so much!!!!

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