Saturday, March 19, 2011
"Oooh, ahhh ... your dryer lint is beautiful"
It's not always easy to hold the attention of 30 second graders trapped in a classroom on a sunny, almost-warm Michigan morning. Unless you have a secret weapon. Unless you have ... DRYER LINT!!!
I was talking about art to the kids in my son's classroom and telling about artists who made creations from modern-day things.
I'd told about Stan Munro, who re-created incredible architectural classics from around the world out of toothpicks. I'd discussed Jason Mecier, who'd created a jaw-dropping installation in a friend's house from more than 185,000 colored pencils. I'd shown photos, of course.
The kids thought it was all pretty cool. But there was still some shifting and whispering. Then I got to Heidi Hooper - admittedly my absolute favorite. She's a Pennsylvania-based artist, a former sculptor and silversmith who found herself weakened and slowed by cancer. But an artist is an artist, and she longed to create. So she began making art with .... DRYER LINT. She makes beautiful drawings, many of adorable animals, with, yes, lint.(She has a sense of humor about it. But it's pretty amazing. Check it out at http://www.heidihooper.com)
Anyway, I wasn't sure that second graders would know what a sheet of dryer lint would look like, so I grabbed one from our dryer's lint trap right before I left.
As I pulled it from my bag, I heard the collective gasp.
"That's beautiful," said one girl.
"It looks so soft," said a boy. "It's like ... a lamb."
They held it, passed it around, fought over it. Then I had their undivided attention.
I graciously left it with the teacher. The kids were so impressed, it almost made doing all that laundry worth it.