Spring is in the air. Ideas are brewing. Art is being created and I would love to know - where do you get your art materials from?
I've been thinking about this a fair bit recently as I often find myself in the most obscure places gathering materials for my art projects. So, I thought a post about it would be an idea. Here goes:
- carboot or yard sales - when I was doing my art MA I was creating installations with fairy-tale like narratives. I would often go to my local boot sale to source old and odd items, such as vintage scissors, jars of ink, mirrors etc
- eBay - eBay is an amazing place to buy art materials from. I found intriguing items for the project mentioned above. Also great for vintage postcards and photographs to work with or household trinkets and ornaments to make sculptures from
- charity shop - similarly if seeking clothes or fabric to do stitched art on and need something with a history, apart from one's own wardrobe, buying reclaimed clothes to cut up from here, to patch, dye and stitch, is a great resource. I have also bought old linen from street sales in France.
- cosmetics shop - in the past I have used cosmetics for work including staining (those who have done the experimental art e-course with me, will know about this ;) ) Nail varnishes (polish) are like enamel paint, and there's liquid liners or coloured rouges/blushers to experiment with!
- the stationery shop - Who said paper? Oh how I love the stationers for all the potential paper cutting, tearing, hole-punching, ripping and layering. I love the squared graph paper - see artist Abbi Torrance who uses graph paper to draw on - and then there's tracing paper that is lovely to layer on top of other papers/colours, and of course hand-made papers that can be put through the printer to get gorgeous prints on. Hole punches can be bought here - see this recently discovered artist. And then there's pencils and glue to glue collages with...
- museums - partly what precipitated this post is because I found myself at the local science and natural history museums recently buying crystals and even a 'grow your own crystal kit'. See artist Karen David. I have this idea that I would like to collage with crystal and rock etc. On speaking to a friend it's possible to make one's own crystals with copper sulphate and knotted string - has anyone done this experiment? Also, solar paper can also be bought from museum's often - I'm keen to take some 'sunlight' photographs soon
- hardware or DIY shop - this leads me on to the hardware shop. There is SOOO much to be got from here. White spirit to mix with oil pastels, or string to create an Eva Hesse or Richard Wentworth art-piece with. Maybe copper sulphate can be bought here too? Wood for painting on (I've bought many wood off-cuts from my local hardware shop), sandpaper and bleach to 'erase' with (presence and absence and all that) ;) and household paints to paint with, wallpaper to collage or create installations with + more I'm sure...
- the great outdoors - oh my and this is all for FREE. What is possible to collect here is immense. Flowers for petal collages (try collaging flower petals on to old photographs), leaves to print on or with, or use for stitch inspiration (veins of leaves are amazing), stones or rocks for creating an Andy Goldsworthy's with or for collaging (that's what I'm planning - if it's even possible!?) Mud to paint with, berries to stain and colour with, twigs to create mobile art or installations, or as I do, try sharpening a twig with a scalpel and dipping it in ink to draw - it's amazing! Create a collage of debris from found items
- library & second-hand bookshop - I have often bought old books, magazines and even ordnance survey maps from my local libraries. I will cut up book pages, use collage from the magazines and of course maps are great for art. Possibilities: collage on top, reference the lines, use as inspiration for an individual style map or mapping and print and use element as a starting piece for an art project. The same applies to second-hand book shops
- fabric shop - I love the fabric shop for all the embroidery threads to stitch with, to muslim, voile, linen and cottons to make a canvas with or stitch in to. See artist Alice Wilson who uses voile to stretch over a frame and then paint and draw on to so the image can be viewed on two sides (Alice has a show coming up at ArtLacuna next month by the way). I've also recently been buying fabric paint to paint on to vintage french linen with and have used calico in the past to do Watercolour painting on - very interesting effects
- the bin (or trash) - I love my recycling bag for all the potential bottles, card, paper etc. I will often recycle envelopes in to my artists books. Items can be used to create debris, card or paper collages or use items to create installations to photograph. See this artist's photos of plastic bags - they look amazing! And loo roll art from Yuken Teruya. And Sue Webster's shadow art - see what can be done with a mountain of plastic!
This makes me want to run out and start gathering materials to do all sorts of experimental art projects with :)
I love to extend the possibilities. Think outside the box. In fact it's got me fired up for running another experimental art e-course. I want to add to the course and am plotting and planning at the moment (I'm aiming for later this year). You can of course hear more via this mailing list: experimental art mailing list.
Where you gather your materials from? I would love to hear - and add to this list........