Mixed Media Stars

Working in a hospital clinic often means an abundance of out of date magazines. As a mixed media artist it is hard to just toss them out, even when the boxes start to pile up. Although there are always a few people interested in collage work, the number of old magazines far outweighs the images used. One patient and her parent introduced making layered flowers out of magazine pages, and that was fun, but, while the flowers were pretty, I decided to find other uses for our old magazines.

I wanted to make a star banner for the fourth of July. I made three star-shaped templates in descending sizes out of card stock. I then started to look for interesting colors and patterns in the magazines. When we had made a lot of cut-out stars, I asked people to pick out two or three. We started by folding each spoke of the star in half lengthwise towards the center, folding in to the wrong side, giving the stars dimension. We then glued a circle of foam between the layers to keep them from collapsing.

While this project was easy for many ages, the parents were the ones most invested. Parents accompany their children to outpatient appointments, so they too spend long hours with little to do. They would start by using the stars I had cut out, but then they moved to searching for images. The parents really liked having something to do at the art area without having to “create”. Although this was creating, it seemed safe and non-judgmental. Many parents said they liked the activity because even though they were not creative people, they could explore color and texture through the images.

A few parents moved on from the safety of the stars to more individual work as the clinic days rolled by. Although my intention for the star banner was for the younger patients to create, I was glad the parents took over. It brought more families to the art area to talk, share stories, bond, and create.

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