Search This Blog

Creative Casey's Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One Step Up From Garbage Picking

One step up from garbage scavenging is to shop garage/yard sales. If you have some vision then this may be another way to utilize your creative juices. I've found that this is another inexpensive way to find pieces to create art.

My sister was getting rid of two end tables in her garage sale and I was looking for end tables, so I confiscated them (free in exchange for my labor) and using a wood burner and some different size glass canister rims I etched shapes into the wood after putting on a primary paint color all over the surface. Then I painted inside the etched circles a different color and sealed the entire table with a clear varnish.

However, I decided I wanted a piece of glass to go over top of the tables for extra protection. I looked online and in stores for the correct size and shape of glass- which turned out to be very expensive therefore not an option. It turned out I didn't even need to be that patient- I searched craigslist as another option and within a day found the same end table with glass for $5 so I purchased it and then within in a week found another one for $8. The only problem was that I now had four tables and only needed two. To solve the problem I ended up using the same technique but different colors and used the two spare tables in my work office space which didn't really need extra glass protection.

Outcome: 4 usable unique end tables for a total of $13 and a few hours of labor!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Salvaged Art

I orignally began creating this piece for an art exhibit for staff and faculty to show case their artwork at the local college I work at. This is an annual art exhibit and the first one I've participated in. Talk about interesting- there was artwork that was amazing from many different professions and a myriad of art materials.

I wanted to create something from a piece of salvaged art and photographs I've taken from trips over my life time. It just so happened that I've been looking for a piece of artwork to hang over my bed for 2 years now and that is where this piece ended up finding a home after the exhibit.

We have a couple of unique salvage shops in our city and I while I usually enjoy a good garbage picking find, it was winter here and that's not a fun garbage picking time, therefore I ended up perusing the shops.

Historic House Parts:
ReHouse Architectural Salvage:

I found this cabinet door with all all hardware on it for under twenty dollars. It was painted a horrible peachy color when I found it but I liked the 4 seperate glass panels all being framed in. An idea began to form of putting photographs in each panel. I love black and white prints and went through photoshopping pictures from trips. I sent them to which I love because they do great work! I painted the frame black then did a weathering glaze followed by a coat of off white paint. I took the hinges off and spray painted them black. The tricky part that took hours of experimenting was how to adhere the photographs. I ended up using scrap-booking photo corners on each photo and then very carefully and patiently putting a dab of super glue on each corner of the scrap-booking edges (not the actual photo). I measured first and then placed thick books on top of the back of each photo to help them adhere. I was planning to hang the artwork from the hinges but this didn't work out so I purchased frame hooks and hammered them into the back. I then went to a local craft store and purchased etching scripts (the words in black on each panel). I carefully cut the scripts, placed them on the front and using an etching stick adhered them onto the glass.

The outcome turned out lovely and fits in my room perfectly. The art exhibit went well and I received many compliments. My goal is to participate in it next year to help me to keep creating!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Etsy-based Fundraiser to Support Japan and the Igari Music Therapy Research Center

I'm participating in an Etsy-based fundraiser which started April 25, to benefit the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund and Igari Music Therapy Research Center in Miyagi Prefecture which provides music therapy and music education services to individuals with developmental disabilities and the elderly.

This is a cause I definitely want to take part in for multiple reasons. One being that my significant others brother, wife, and three children just recently moved from Japan (where they had been living for the past 10 years) to Houston, TX. And when I mean recently I mean February 2011- just missing the earthquake and tsunami. They have family who continues to reside in Japan and many friends who are affected by this tragedy.

My boyfriend and I have donated to the Red Cross already but this is something else that I can to help out. Especially as this cause is for music therapy services and I'm a Creative Arts Therapist. As time moves forward the services of Music Therapist and other Creative Arts Therapist will be valuable in the healing process.

Below is the link to the Etsy fundraiser store.

You can also email Yoshiko @
to find out further information on donating art related creations.

Here's the art piece I'm donating.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Art and History

I never knew my grandfathers. They passed away before my parents were married. I've seen pictures of them and heard stories through the years. My maternal grandmother while not a diagnosable hoarder was more of a pack rat. When she was moved to an assisted living home and her house sold my mother was the one sibling stuck cleaning out my grandmother's house (I helped a little.). While a sad task it was also like finding lost treasure. We found a huge pile of old random film not developed (which I later found a special print shop and had the lot of them printed, put in albums, and gave to my mother for Christmas one year- she hadn't even seen some of the pictures before), a collection of paper coffee cups from McDonald's (which I'm sure we shouldn't have thrown away because they were probably vintage or something), lots of tupperware containers with no lids (which I'm also sure were quite valuable) and a box full of old postcards from my grandfather dating back to 1910 and through World War II.

I'm memesmorized by most things old...buildings, clippings, pictures, magazines, furniture, etc... When home visiting my parents one weekend I took out the plastic bag full of postcards, read through them and looked at the images on the front. Later that week while taking a walk I found an old badly in need of repair table with fold down sides that was put out for the garbage. My boyfriend loved it when I begged him to help me carry it all the way home and store yet another piece of furniture in our apartment until I decided what to do with it.

What I ended up doing was painting the table top and edges in gold, using a layer of crackle glaze, then a top layer of black paint. The legs were repaired and spray painted a solid black. I then went to a copy center and made color copies on card stock paper of the front and back of many of the postcards, arranging them on the table, and then decopaging them in place. I put a couple of coats of clear satin on the top of the entire table to help adhere everything in place and protect it.

This process of creating this table was therapeutic for me in many unexpected ways. I was able to create art but also able to explore and find out a little bit more about my grandfather and his life. It might be silly to say, but I felt a little closer to him after making the piece.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Family Art Therapy

I paid 10 dollars for this table in a yard sale and had it hanging out in our foyer. Can't remember how the idea came about but decided to involve my close family and friends in this art project. By the time it was finished it ended up being a pretty amazing process and I discovered many neat things about my family and friends along the way. It was really interesting for a myraid of reasons. First being my brother-in-law got more into the project then my sister and my father who dispises painting still created a piece. My nephew was only 1.5 years old but had a fun time contributing.

While it was excellent to watch everyone create or hear about their experiences perhaps one of the most profound parts of entire process was both of my grandmothers contributions. My maternal grandmother has Alzheimer's and was in an assisted living home when this was created. She was a very artsy crafty woman. My paternal grandmother is a very anxious wonderful woman and had never painted before in her life. (Though she did embroider and create blankets with the help of my aunt for many years but did not consider this art). While at home visiting one weekend I made a picnic basket lunch, picked up my paternal grandmother and we went to the nursing home to visit with my maternal grandmother. We all had lunch outside on a beautiful summer day. Following the lunch I pulled out the paints and tiles and asked them both to simply create. My anxious grandmother was of course anxious because this was a very new experience for her but she did amazingly well (the sunflower tile- note: sunflowers are her signature flower) and my other grandmother struggled. It was difficult for me to watch her because she had been such an artistic woman and she struggled with painting and what to paint, but I was very proud of her to for creating a piece. I also believe this was an enjoyable highlight to all of our lives.

In the end, this project was like family art therapy. I now have a unique piece of furniture that continues to catch my eye and help me remember those I love and the experience of creating this piece with them. Overall my mother, father, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, grandmothers, two close girlfriends, my loving boyfriend, and myself created a piece. Below are some pics and a description of how it was made.

My boyfriend helped me to frame in the table top with some simple inexpensive wood trim from HD (Home Depot) to create upraised walls boxing in the top. Then I purchased 12 white tiles from HD for about a dollar each. I purchased glass paint kits from a local craft store and took turns passing the paint kits around after giving everyone a tile. I purchased a finishing top coat and applied it to each tile twice, used tile adhesive to place them on the table top. Crushed a blue tile that I purchased and placed it in the center, then grouted, cleaned off the excess grout and applied another top coat for extra protection (can't have enough of that).