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List of Materials and Guidelines


July/August (due 8/31/10) – Technical roadkill and found objects.  This means anything that was once an electric/electronic device, tool, machine or other “technical” object that has died or ceased to serve a useful function in your life.  Scratched CDs, old TVs, remote controls, bicycles, kids’ toys with moving parts or motors, hunks of stuff smashed on the street (literally, technical roadkill).  Please be careful about handling toxic materials (battery acid, lead content, etc.) and disposing of them properly, for your own sake and the sake of the planet.

September/October (due 10/31/10) – Anything inherently red, orange, or yellow.  Here’s your chance to use those plastic net fruit bags you’ve been saving.  Or twist ties.  Or plastic bags (again).  Or old paper.  Or used fabric.  Of course, you may combine materials (especially is all elements stick to the autumn leaf-colored theme.

November/December (due 12/31/10) – Wrappers (and containers/packaging).  This theme is inspired by the holidays and celebrations that usually take place during this timeframe:  Halloween (the night before the theme begins – candy wrapper heaven), Thanksgiving (food wrapper/container central), Hannukah/Xmas and other gift-giving occasions (gift boxes, and how about those plastic covers that are so impossible to get off without pliers and metal shears?).  Let’s make use of the coverings that revealed the treasures within.

We will try to keep this list updated to cover at least two months in advance.  At the beginning of each two-month period, we will add a page for the material and post a list of verbs that might be helpful as you consider how you wish to use the material.  If we find resources that are specific to that material, we will post those on the page as well.  Suggestions from the world at large are welcome for these pages!

Projects are “due” by the end of the assigned two-month period, and eligible images will be posted within about the first week of the following month on the page designated to that material (listed by date and name of material).  “Eligible” means that the maker followed the basic rules (primarily using the assigned material and avoiding the use of non-reused materials – see Materials Guidelines).  We preserve the right to decide which images will and will not be posted.  Some images may show a particularly interesting technique or successful final piece.  Others may be valuable for their experimental quality, expression of lessons learned, etc.  If you play with the material and didn’t produce a final piece that you wish to share, but you feel you learned something useful from exploring the material, your contribution can simply be a comment about what you learned (frustrations, triumphs, realizations, etc.).

If you have suggestions for future materials, please let us know.  Materials must be 1) common enough that people will not have much trouble collecting them and 2) non-toxic when used in most processes (plastic bags are pretty safe unless you melt them, but altered batteries are almost always dangerous to handle).  Also, not always required (but preferred), materials should be recyclable in many jurisdictions.

These guidelines are really just suggestions, but we reserve the right to give priority to posting work that stays within them.  They are not hard and fast rules and your work may not be rejected if you don’t follow them, but please try.

If you are inspired to do something that falls outside the guidelines, just keep in mind that the goal of this project is to explore the materials themselves without increasing landfills with our work. The suggestion to include a moving element is merely a reminder to try to go beyond the purely visual in your exploration.


Special attention will be given to pieces that:

1)  Are still fully recyclable as is (no disassembly required in order to be thrown in the recycling  bin), and especially if they were made using only one material,

2) Were made using only reused material (even better if all material is recyclable), including method of assembly (no adhesives or new connectors, but used string, wire, etc., are welcome),

3)  Incorporate moving parts or display some kind of overall movement.


With all submissions, please include:

1) A list of materials used

2) A description of the techniques used.

3) (Optional) Your name and/or the town/city/state where you live
Other helpful (but not required) information includes details about how you solved a technical problem, issues you encountered with this particular material, or special tools that were useful when using this material.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 9:38 pm

    As a suggestion for monthly recycled material……

    I and several of my friends have been saving those mesh bags that you receive with bunches of onions, other vegetables and some fruits. ome stretch and some don’t, come in bright colors and there must be some good uses for them.

    • December 8, 2009 10:09 pm

      Yes! Me too! The colors are fabulous! And they are wonderfully stretchy. That will definitely be a material for the future. I am trying to pick a couple of less textile-oriented materials over the next few months for those among us who are less fiber-focused. But if you want to start playing with those, your time will not be wasted.

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