New in The Re-Source

treeChristmas is past and you've probably taken down the decorations and stored them for another year. However, before you're totally out of the Christmas spirit, you might want to consider buying an artificial tree. We'll talk about that option as well as why a real tree, or even a live one, may be better choices.

The most popular art activity at The Imagination Factory is #16 or learning how to fold origami boxes from old greeting cards. You may want to review the project, and store your old cards with the Christmas wrapping paper. Next year, you can reuse them to make little boxes for your smaller gifts.

We'll tell you how those who run ski resorts have come up with the most unlikely materials to make snowboarding trails more challenging. Junk, such as machinery, old furniture, and anything else that can be hauled onto the slopes is being used to make the sport interesting and even more exciting.

In the fall newsletter, you may remember our previewing Déjà vu Art and Fine Craft Show, which was held in November. The event was a great success, and we're already planning for the next show. We'll share photos of some of our favorite artists' booths and their repurposed work.

Finally, in homage to the incandescent light bulb and the great inventor Thomas Edison, we'll show you a simple craft that reuses burned out bulbs, thereby providing an inexpensive art material for you while saving landfill space for everybody.

What's In This Issue

Winter 2011

Jumping Junk in Snow Country

snow boarding over junkSki resorts across the United States are recycling junk to help the environment while providing interesting “jumping hazards” for snowboarders. While one wouldn’t normally think about finding items such as a rusty car, satellite dishes, and old tires along a trail, scattering them on the slopes adds interest and unusual challenges for athletes.

The idea started about five years ago, but snowballed last season. Colorado seems to be the hotbed for reusing the materials in the cool sport, and the practice is keeping tons of junk out of landfills, thereby saving space for other trash. Some of the western resorts and areas that feature the unusual materials include Winter Park Resort, Echo Mountain, Sol Vista Basin at Granby Ranch, and Copper Mountain, all in Colorado.

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by Marilyn J. Brackney

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The link above will allow access to dozens of Imagination Factory art activities and articles that appear in all newsletters.

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Artificial or Real?

I heart 21st-century learning. Edutopia.

The Christmas season is over, but this is the perfect time to think about next year and perhaps save some money when stores have sales on decorations and trees. Many prefer fake or artificial trees to the real ones, because over time, they’re cost-effective and some people think they’re more environmentally friendly.

However, if you buy a real tree, there are two ways you can reuse it. First of all, many solid waste facilities will pick up your tree, grind it to make mulch, and make the material available to the public for landscaping. Secondly, your feathered friends will welcome ground cover for the winter, so use shears to cut off the branches and lay them around the yard to shelter the birds.

Perhaps the best solution to the artificial/real tree dilemma is to buy a live Christmas tree. Once the holidays are over, you can replant the tree in your yard and enjoy it for many years thereafter. If you decide to buy a live tree next year, be sure to check with your nurseryman to see how long you can safely keep your tree indoors before planting.

Creative Reuse for an Incandescent Light Bulb

New lighting standards set by the U.S. Government are designed to phase in halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LED bulbs to help save energy. Specifically, there will be a ban on the familiar 100-watt incandescent bulbs. The regulations go into effect later this year, but in the meantime, consumers will find the old light bulb on store shelves.

Burned out incandescent bulbs aren't recyclable in all areas, so reusing them in craft projects is a great way to give them another life and keep them permanently out of landfills. The bulbs can serve as an armature for papier mâché, or they can be painted and used as they are.

The snowman pictured here was created from an old light bulb. Combining fine sawdust or sand with a thin coat of gel medium made texture for the body. After drying, it was painted with white acrylic. Features, buttons, and the hat were also painted, and a brim added.

Additional trim was used for decoration and to make a hanger, which was hot glued under the hat. You can also cover the bulb with a thin layer of a product called Creative Paperclay and paint it when dry. If you prefer to have a stand-alone snowman or woman, glue a bottle cap to the bottom and paint it to match the body.

Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show

In celebration of America Recycles Day, the annual Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show was held at the spectacular, new Commons in Columbus, Indiana on November 19th. This was the seventh show presented featuring artists who reuse and/or recycle materials to create their work. Mark your calendar for next year’s event, which will be held on Saturday, November 17th. Photos below show some of the amazing work created by our talented artists.

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deja vu posterLeather purses from coatsmosaic owldecorated wood box