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IMAGINATION - AND JUNK - DECK HALLS THIS SEASON

SHARE IMAGINATION - AND JUNK - DECK HALLS THIS SEASON

NO NEED TO TRY to convince these second-graders of the possibilities inherent in recycled art. They see the scraps of purple fabric, pink feathers, orange ribbon - and they are inspired.

"It's just a Christmas ornament," says Alicia Dilley, modestly, when an adult compliments her on her creation. But then she points to a scrap of pink leopard-print fabric and gets more enthusiastic about the beauty she has wrought. "I want to have a shirt like this. I like hot pink."Adele Mattern, who directs the Lallapalooza art projects for the Children's Museum of Utah, gathered materials from various elementary school students. Washington Elementary teacher Kris Erickson provided the artists. And within minutes after receiving the scraps, the children created several dozen ornaments to decorate the tree belonging to the elderly residents of the nearby Salt Lake Home.

Erickson had talked with the children about recycling, about how newspapers and plastic and aluminum can be used again - but that old egg cartons, and juice cans and toilet paper tubes can be recycled, too. Into art. Mattern says children seem to understand instinctively what to do.

"I gave everyone a tube with a hole punched in it and a ribbon tied through the hole. I showed them the materials and said `Go to it,' " she says. "If the materials are interesting enough they come up with everything else on their own."

Not one child questioned the nontraditional holiday colors of the materials they'd been offered. "Someone donated hot pink feathers to the Children's Museum years ago," explains Mattern. "So I only have hot pink feathers. All our Thanksgiving things had hot pink feathers, too. It's a real Hollywood look."