Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Penny Experiment

I first learned about the Penny Experiment Art Project from Cindy McMath's blog. A few days later, after contacting Jeffrey Strain, I had my number and was part of the original 100 people involved in this art project.

From the beginning, I wanted to create something that used mostly recycled materials, since this project seemed to scream that. Not to bore you with too many details, since I'm hoping you will go to Jeffery's Penny Experiment blog, the idea is to make art that will eventually be sold to raise money for food banks. I learned, while trying to find suitable fodder for my art, Kansas has only ONE food bank and it is located in Wichita. It gathers, collects, and distributes to the needy in every city, burg, town, and one-horse stop in the state.

As I mentioned before, I was looking for specific fodder. I thought labels from food cans, stickers from fruit, and wrappers from tea, etc. would be good. I wanted things a food bank might deliver to a community to be distributed to the needy. After calling and leaving calls for everyone in Wichita I knew, I got more and more frustrated as the days needed to complete this project grew shorter. In the end, I settled for a couple of magazines my neighbor gave me on Friday. I had already started the background, but it still took three more days to complete the project.

In the end, I used as many altered "houses" as would fit on the 5" X 8" piece. Please click to enlarge so you don't miss any of the details.

I had two sayings going through my mind the entire time I was mentally designing this piece. One was "It takes a village," which is a bit odd for me, because I associate that with Hillary Clinton, who I have never cared for (although I like her better as Sec. of State than I did as first enabler, oops, lady) and the other is the Chinese saying (and I'm not sure I even have it quoted properly) "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." If that doesn't take the prize for longest run-on sentence, then I guess you're still with me. At least you know where I came up with the sentiment for the piece.

Instead of food labels, I used magazine images (hey, they're recycled too!) and fruit stickers for the houses. Windows and door knobs are a bit of clear cut glass bling. I was going to draw in some green grass at the bottom, then got worried I might mess the piece up after it was finished. Even though I'm probably the worst doodler in the country, I did add some green grass after I scanned the piece. Kinda wish I'd gone with my original gut feel, because I don't think it added the grass feel I was hoping for.

The two postage stamps represent my number. Why 32? When I learned about the project, there were only a handful of numbers left. It was the lowest number, so I asked for it. Seriously, I have absolutely NO attachment to the number, but I had to use it in some way in my art. It is represented on the two postage stamps I used as doors. This is in the mail and I'll keep my fingers crossed it makes the January 10 deadline.

Today's blog has to be Penny Experiment. Go find out how YOU can help in your community, or just go to enjoy the art.

11 thoughtful remarks:

Diane said...

This is so very, very cool and the reason behind it! I'll go check out the Penny Experiment,

Terri Kahrs said...

What a wonderful, meaningful piece that was created for an awesome cause. I, too, hope it reaches it's destination in time. I'm off to check out the Penny Experiment. Hugs, Terri

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I really love your "crown" molding.


maggiegracecreates said...

thanks for stopping by maggiegracecreates. I'll be back to catch up here.

Kimmie said...

this is really cool .... maybe Kansas will grow more food banks as awareness grows. Our town has one - I assumed that every town does - maybe not. Best wishes on your efforts here - it turned out great!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Wonderful project and your contribution is super Elizabeth!
Making your village of houses out of food labels is so symbolic ... there should/could be enough food in each and every house ... it truly is sad to think that we live in one of the richest countries and children go to bed hungry! I'm off to check out the link! Our local supermarkets have an easy opportunity at the check out to donate $$$ for local foodbanks. I can't help but think that each time we load up our shopping carts, donating just one dollar each visit would make a huge difference.
oops got windy on this topic ... struck a cord with me!

Ginny Gaskill said...

I really like your piece. I'll have to look that link.

Cindy McMath said...

Elizabeth, I absolutely love this piece! I think it is my most favourite piece you've ever done. I think the saying is perfect, and your houses are just fantastic - you really put your heart into it and it shows. I know people will respond to it.

I'm so glad you decided to join this project.

Cindy :)

Dianne said...

This piece turned out great! wonderful symbolism and very colorful...just excellent!

Debrina said...

Oh wow - I missed this Elizabeth - you are too fast for me! I love the idea - how very cool as well!! I've gotta go now (the hub needs the computer) but I'll be back to find out more and read this in its entirety.

CC in WI said...

Great piece of art for a worthy cause. Thanks for sharing.
CC in WI