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Creating with Cast-offs

 What to do with the crisp, clean, guillotined borders of paper goods discarded by the graphics department of your school or workplace, those perfectly fine orphans of a measurement?

What about the ripped old clothes the Salvation Army won’t have: the skirts and shirts and sweaters that hold idyllic memories of a slimmer or wider you, of who you wore them with and when? Or the curtains you bought for your first apartment, too frilly now? Tossing memories out as trash seems almost disrespectful.

So why not give another life to those worn and weary treasures that served industry and you so well? And while you are thinking of rescue, what about wallpaper leftovers: the extra roll the salesman insisted you buy, so the dye lots would match if you ran out midway up the wall?

You don’t mind discarding a toilet paper roll, its purpose served and another installed. But what a nice shape the roll is and sturdy too, solid enough to hold its shape; a surface easily glued and stapled to plus an opening just right for a hand to slip into. You couldn’t find a better armature for a puppet.

Then there are all those buttons popped off shirts and skirts and buttons on the clothes that have no use and the buttons your grandma kept in a cigar box. And what about the former occupants of that box, empty plastic tubes holding the cigars? Perfect for finger puppets. And then there’s the wool left over from the afghan your Aunt made.

The book Artistic Crafts: Inventive Creations from Cast-offs is a rescue effort, offering paper, fabric, wallpaper, toilet paper tubes, buttons, wool and other discards a second chance to BE somebody. And you can be somebody too. An artist. Because just as these cast-offs have color, pattern, texture and vitality of their own, so do you, for you bring to this artistry your personality. Begin by collecting the cast-offs. You will master the techniques as you go along and devise new ones of your own on the way.

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