Art and music do not have to be expensive hobbies. Most people think you have to buy a ton of supplies just to get an art project started, or buy an expensive instrument when you want to learn a new one. But the truth is, you can create art or learn to play with what you already have.
"Upcycling," or using waste or useless materials to create new materials or products, is very popular right now and for a good reason. Many of us cannot afford to go out and buy something new every time we need something. Reusing products within "upcycled" projects is also environmentally friendly.
Your Recycling = Great Projects
You can use fabric scraps, old buttons, recyclable materials, or scrap paper to create art projects, including jewelry, accessories, home decorations-the possibilities are endless.
Here are some suggestions for "upcycled" art projects you can make from what you have at home:
1. Gather up your old buttons, fabric scraps, beads, zippers, paper, tissue paper, and anything else you can think of to create a decorative frame.
2. Sew squares of old fabric together and make a cute decorative pillow cover.
3. Sew old t-shirts together to make a soft baby quilt or small throw.
4. Glue buttons, zippers, and ill-matching beads to an old headband to create a new fashion statement.
5. Decoupage tissue paper onto the outside of a glass vase to brighten its color.
6. Take paper from computer mess ups and create homemade greeting cards or gift tags.
7. Handmade paper, made from recycled waste, can also make interesting jewelry and accessories.
Taking Up a New Instrument Doesn't
Have to Mean Big Money
As I've talked to people about the Allegheny Center for the Arts, and told them about the ukulele class I teach, many say, "I've been meaning to learn a new instrument."
One of the major obstacles many people face when they think about taking up a new instrument is the cost involved in buying a new one-but that doesn't have to be the case.
You can fix up that old guitar, ukulele, or saxophone that has been sitting in the attic or closet. You can also find instruments at yard sales, some antique stores, or online.
The Allegheny Center for the Arts has several music teachers that can teach lessons in several areas of instrumentation. They can even offer limited use of our guitars and other instruments for those who don't own their own instruments, or want to try a new one without committing to a purchase.
In addition, you can enjoy music by using "upcycled" instruments at home, such as by making some of the following:
1. Drums made from tin cans
2. Horns from paper tubes
3. Rubber band guitar boxes
4. Shaker instruments with cans
Now is the time to bring some extra joy into your life by making music. Projects like these are easy and fun to make.
Art and music force you to forget the things you are worrying about and completely focus on the art at hand. Give yourself a chance to have fun, relax, and enjoy your own sense of creativity.
All in all, if you are interested in doing something artsy, don't feel that you have to go out and buy a ton of stuff before the project even starts. Art in its basic sense is about being creative. So go out and be creative. Make the stuff cluttering your home into something fun and interesting. And, just maybe, save the planet while you're at it.
About the author:
Elissa Davis is a teacher of music with a degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her ukulele classes for beginners and up, Davis also offers courses in chamber group and other musical instruction as determined by student interest.
Davis is also an artist and photographer. She will be offering a workshop in creating upcycled musical instruments during the winter class session at the Allegheny Center for the Arts. To see a full listing, visit www.alleghenycenterforthearts.com