Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Junk Art

Last Spring, I went walking with my friend Meg, and we must have been taking a break from our usual conversation topics of SNL sketches and tacos, because she ended up telling me about something called a junk sculpture, and it stopped me in my mental tracks.

Instructions: Collect junk. Hot-glue into a sculpture. 

It was one of those out-of-body experiences, or maybe I'm just being dramatic. All I can say is that my youngest child's love language starts with a J and ends with a U. N. K.

I've said it a thousand times, but the kid eats, sleeps and breathes weirdness. It's sort of the best thing ever, especially since I've learned to roll with it.

Here's a common daily conversation at our house:
Silas: Can I have that orange juice jug/ground cinnamon jar/dish soap bottle when it's all gone?
Me: Totally.

The dude just wants some containers, man.
And copious amounts of trash-junk.

Over the summer I gave him the empty laundry detergent bottle with a built in spigot and he very nearly lost his ever-loving business.

You get the point.

With Meg's magical junk sculpture, there would be an actual reason to collect these, uh, treasures. We were giving ourselves homework we knew we would ace.

I didn't give a full explanation of the project as much as an invitation to collect whatever "junk" homeboy found, all summer long. I drew the line at trash, but among many other things, Summer 2015 shaped up to be the year I learned to tread lightly upon the line between one man's trash and another man's junk.

There's no shortage of good junk around here, and I'm not just saying that because we happened upon an intact Neil Young cd on our walk to church one Sunday. No offense, Neil.

In true "Classic Shannan" form, we collected our brains out, then left the bucket sitting all trashy and ignored on my counter for months, taking up prime real estate by the toaster.

Until yesterday.
Daddy worked all day, the neighbor kids had gone missing...it seemed like the right time.

I called dibs on arranging the junk for our art survey.

And the kiddos got to work while I retired on the couch with my library book, under strict instructions not to turn around until they were done.


When I turned around, I was stone-cold stunned.

I mean, have you ever????

I can't look away.

This just in: my kids are budding physicists.
The balance!
The technique!

Also, they're child prodigy sculptors.

The artistry!
The ingenuity!
The imagination!

Just stop it, genius children.

This is officially the best project ever.
Silas got to man the hot glue gun, and I had a good reason to shuttle broken golf tees and odd bits of rusty metal around in my purse.

This isn't the time to wonder why someone would have left a tiny pink pooch in the gutter.
All that matters is that she's home now, on top of a grocery bag handle, and she's never held a post so significant.

Viva, weird art!
Viva, weird kids!



  1. With art and kids, I usually spout "it's the process, not the product", but in this case, both the process and product are amazing!!!

    1. Right?! I seriously love the sculpture! Not sure how long it can bear its own weight, but we'll love it while it lasts. :)

  2. how cool is that??!! I bet they were proud...and they should be!!

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

  3. That is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. And your kids are everything you said. Plus a lot of other things!! Wow. Going back to stare at the pictures.

    PS. This reminds me of this: http://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/andrew-gatts-ultimate-paper-roller-coaster It's not junk but it's rad and I think your kids would LOVE it!!

  4. You're the greatest mom ever. What a project!! My youngest and I are all over this. She, too, is a junk queen. :)

  5. You're the greatest mom ever. What a project!! My youngest and I are all over this. She, too, is a junk queen. :)

  6. Oh, that will have to be on our to-do list for our next break. Love this!

  7. Your son clearly has "the eye". That is some primo junk if ever I've seen primo junk, (and I have!) My suggestion, find some shelves to showcase these awesome sculptures because kid art is awesome! I predict he will be famous some day if you just let him experiment.

  8. So awesome! This couldn't have been timed more perfectly. Just last night my son was once again asking for junk that I had destined for the trash can. Hm, maybe we will start a junk bucket and do this too.

  9. laughing out loud. the sculpture is amazing and your commentary equally so.

  10. Oh my gosh. Love it. We're totally going to do this. You know what I love? The webs and blobs of hot glue. Nobody can get away without those. I was wondering who manned the gun. No burns, huh? He's more talented than I. I burn myself 100% of the times I use hot glue.

  11. This put a huge smile on my face. It is beautiful.

  12. Cute! My daughter would love this project. Your kids will always remember this!

  13. I abso-lu-tootin' love this! I happen to be a pro myself at collecting. We actually do have a gallon jar that we very affectionately refer to as 'The Oddities Jar" that is full of all sorts of vintage do-dads. My two girls love going through it- Silas would find it facinating, I'm sure! Your kiddos sculpture really is wonderful and a grand idea to show my youngest who, fortunately? unfortunately? takes after me and would love to try this also! Heidi

  14. Many moons ago, in elementary school, I was a part of our school's traveling OM team. It stood for Odyssey of the Mind and basically we got to play around/experiment/do awesome things with random junk, and all I remember about it was that it was AWESOME. I grew up to receive a degree in philosophy and have a love affair with creative freedom, and I'm convinced it's because I was both creatively free and stimulated as a child. Bravo for giving your kids such a beautiful experience! They will remember and treasure it forever.

  15. My son is also a "collector" of all the things. We are totally cleaning out his drawers and doing THIS!! I feel like there is a good lesson about redemption tucked in there somewhere. <3

  16. This is so AWESOME! My brain can't even process the totally coolness of this project and resulting sculpture.........the kids are genius. Shannon you are the bees knees, for sure.

  17. Oh my gosh - that is amazing. Also, I'm going to have my junk collecting boy make some weird art, too, in an effort to clear off his desk. That way he'll he'll have more room for junk.

  18. Okay, this is the best. I love it. At first I was cringing because my weird neighbors hangs trash from her trees and I just can't even. But this! I wish she'd do this! And now my kids are so going to do this...maybe I'll just send them to her house to do their collecting.

  19. LOVE!!! That is truly a piece worthy of all the momma accolades you gave it!!

  20. Wow, that's incredible! If you ever find yourself on the Oregon coast, be sure to take Silas to Bandon. They have an art museum there full of sculpture made from junk (I mean treasure) that has washed ashore. Check it out at washedashore.org

  21. I can't even "handle" the blue shovel handle or the pink dog (?) figurine on the wire. :) I think it is priceless!

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