Recycled Art Education

Vertical angle of Rain Rug

As you can see, there is progress on the Rain Rug. In the last two weeks, my luck has held out and the various thrift stores have had a variety of sheets in good colors to add to my paintbox. Greens, purple, pink. Maybe we can have a sheet tearing party one of these days in the backyard!

Another, very important event, that will raise money for Art Education outreach in Ypsi, Ann Arbor, and Westland, is a “Studio Workshop” series on creative re-use at FLY Art Center in downtown Ypsi (see the map below!) on July 6 and July 13 at 2:00 pm.  There are other classes and open studio opportunities as well.  It’s a fun thing to do on a summer Saturday, so come on down!

Latest up cycled t-shirt back Tetrahedron floppy rag bag prototype.

The first workshop will feature instructions about how to re-mix a tee-shirt from baggy dad-shirt into fashionable fitted cuteness. It will give students (adults are welcome too!) an opportunity to learn the basics of crochet, and then to work up to the second workshop which will show how to make a small rag-rug project, most likely a coaster or a placemat, but advanced students might try a bag or basket.

I’ve been volunteering with FLY for a little while now, (only 2 events, but who’s counting!) and really enjoy their mission. They go into schools mostly armed with every-day objects and help kids harness their creativity by letting them loose with a theme or problem to solve at the “art buffet” with their cafeteria trays to select their supplies. The students are free to follow the direction or make something new, and always with the support of FLY staff and volunteers.

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065:365 The “A”

065:365 The "A"

Today a drawing based (roughly) on a photograph of something that has long made me feel like I’m arriving home. Before I could read, I knew that my name began with A and that it looked like this sign. On the way home from long trips, we often drove by this sign because it is very close to where I grew up. We’d exit US-23 by the “A,” and arrive home in about 5 minutes.


Of course those weren’t the only times we drove past there. Going to the old Kroger’s on Washteanaw, and other places, I’d plead with my mother to take me the way that passed the “A.”

It inspired this Flickr photo set a few years ago, when I made my first attempt at a 365. If you had not been to Ann Arbor since the 1980’s you wouldn’t recognize Arborland anymore, instead of a real mall, it is now an ugly strip-mall. The old tile mosaic of Jack and the Beanstalk from the entrance has been transplanted into Kerrytown.

There were other signs, either recently or soon-to-be dismantled or modified due to a zoning ordinance that limits the size, distance, and composition of signs along major thoroughfares. The Arby’s sign will probably have to be taken down since it is too big and flashy, and the sign for Big Ten Party Store (now Morgan and York) lost its neon when the owners changed the name. Big George’s used to have neon too, I think, but since they moved a few doors down and expanded, it has been taken down.

On the one hand, I understand that Ann Arbor wants to be a high class town, and too much neon might make us look like Las Vegas, but the Arborland sign is emblematic, visible from nearly a mile up and down US-23, and about the same distance up and down Washtenaw. It lets us know we are home, in the home of the “A.”