We know we've got some creative, resourceful listeners. So, inspired by the publication of our new book Spark: How Creativity Works, we asked listeners to showcase their creativity in our Material Mashup contest, and invited them to share with us examples of something creative they made from unexpected materials. The contest is now over, but you can still share your creations here. We love seeing your mashups!
Check out all of the great entries we received below!
This electric upright bass is made from scrap lumber, hand rail, and copper wire from construction sites and has tuning pegs made from bicycle wheel quick releases. Fret marker inlays are from dominoes and fine tuners are dice. The base is from an old coat rack, and the hand wound magnetic pick up is visible through its plexiglas cover. More instruments like it can be found at www.folkherosandwick.com
Sardine Can Waterwheel by Roger Bennington, Minneapolis, MN
This standing creature is 90% found objects. The legs were from a warehouse cleanout, the face a light fixture, the other pieces from, well, all over. I create approx one found-object sculpture a year for an art show. I've salvaged countless items from everywhere, the more worn and deteriorated the better. My work veers from whimsical to dark but I prefer creating humanoid-like constructions.
Matthew Causey and Molly Painter
Molly Painter makes sequin covered duck decoys. Matthew Causey makes Silly sculptures from foam and felt and cardboard and ceramics. Together they created this super-sized skull. 3 layers of hand-hammered bottle caps hide secret codes around the baby bottle teeth. Delightful! Keep your eyes on missmollymacmacmac.org and matthewcausey.com for more info!
The sculpture is welded steel assembled from elements of a clothing display rack that I retrieved from a dumpster and recycled .
The title is -"TIPSY"
The piece depicts the love affair between a table and a chair. Tipsy was exhibited at Elarslie Museum in Trenton NJ.. I was awarded best in show for drawing at that same show
I am a painter sculptor and muralist .
CyberCraft Robots/Sarah Thee Campagna
Ford ’51 – Industrial and Found Object Assemblage Aculpture from CyberCraft Robots
Ford ‘51s components include the solenoid of a 1951 Ford, a vacuum tube, part of a conduit connector, the carburetor from a weed trimmer, some speed nuts, lamp parts, cable clamps, a junction box, irrigation tubing, and various cast off nuts and bolts.
Ford gets his name from the preexisting handwritten label on his 51 Ford solenoid body. This component is one of many acquired at the estate sale of a man who worked on Fords for his entire life, starting with a Model T. (The distributor of that Model T can be seen in the head of another of my pieces)
Ford ’51 is equipped and ready to explore your airless moon or mining asteroid. He can even perform extravehicular repairs while in transit.
Ford ’51 is 10 inches tall including stand. You can see more views of Ford as well as other Robot sculptures made from industrial and found objects at
I am Andy Rohr, living and working in Chicago as an Artist, Illustrator, & Graphic designer who loves to obsess over the littlest details. My personal work has been influenced by themes involving patterns of repetition found in the smallest atoms of nature, as well as the largest corners of our expanding universe.
The piece pictured here is made of wood, BB's, and faux fur. It is part of a larger installation which is intended to create a world out of found objects.
For more information please visit
Elena Mary Siff
I am an assemblage artist typically using found materials..lately I have been making assemblage jewelry. I found this broken eyeglass frame in Mexico on the street..took it home and now it is a pendant (titled "I can see clearly now") and definite conversation piece.
These sculptures are made of movie film. The colors and texture are the actual characteristics of the various types of film stock, processed and unprocessed, overexposed and underexposed. Some of the footage has been manipulated, bleached, scraped and drawn on.
I discovered this process while pursuing a masters degree in cinematography. As a filmmaker, I shot, edited and manipulated the film for the sole purpose of projecting it on the screen, yet I was just as fascinated with the material itself. I enjoyed handling the long strands of celluloid, watching the tiny images slide between my fingers, revealing blends of color, movement, patterns and flashes of light.
Each form is created by spiraling the film. Within each strand of film, time is represented in linear succession as 24 frames per second. Upon closer inspection, the patterns contained within each sculpture reveal themselves as overlapping bands of still images. With the aid of a magnifying lens, recognizable and abstract images are discovered. This information acts as a story line of the artist’s process as a filmmaker, and the ongoing relationship between the filmmaker and the footage.
The sculptures have become containers of time, fossil like forms made from a disappearing medium—movie film. The process becomes my meditation-documenting my search for center, balance and focus.
suzanne ives cunningham
this is a wire and spray paint piece. i found the wire at the bottom of an old bucket at my parents house and felt compelled to turn it in to something else!
for more work please visit
I am a piano rebuilder and when I'm done with a project, I'm left with a lot of old material. So I've come up with a floral arrangement that I call "Piano Petals". The flower petals are piano hammers centered with a soundboard button and bass strings provide the stems. The vase is cut from an old piano pinblock (that's where the tuning are driven into). It's 100% piano stuff and never needs watering or even sunlight. If you place it on your piano, the flowers will dance from the vibrations made by playing of the piano.
This is a project called "The Illustrated Chip" which is a new format for a book. Each chip has an image in ink on one side and a few sentences on the other side that represent a part of a story the image came from. I have taught art classes to children for the past twenty years and this is one of the many projects I have created for my students.
I've started getting into Steampunk (which is a re-imagining of current technology in terms of Victorian times). There is an offshoot that is branching from more recent times (Dieselpunk).
My current project is to build a shell around my current DSLR camera (Olympus E-3) so that it looks like a view camera (with bellows) from the 1930's. I have a costume that goes with it to give you the idea of me being a reporter from the 1930's with my Speed Graphic to capture the latest Hollywood starlet.
My first stab at this project was to buy an actual 1915 Kodak Pony Premo 5x7 camera, and take out the lens, and put my small camera (Olympus E-P2) inside of it. It worked well, and I used it for a renaissance faire that I was the photographer at, but there are some limitations in using an antique camera (it isn't weather sealed, the lens has some issues with focusing, and the donor body is starting to show its age). You can see pictures here:
So I've begun the process of building a frame from scratch, and learning elementary woodworking along the way. I have perhaps gone through 5 generations, and I'm working on my 6th. I took generation 5 to a local science fiction convention (Arisia in Boston), and had lots of people saying what a cool project it was. My web page showing the various generations and blind alleys is:
My father is an artist (www.chickschwartz.com) who like to weld together sculptures from things he scavenges from junkyards. This is a rider balancing on a horse's hoof (the horse head is a mailbox and the woman's and horse's legs are made form Honda motorcycle gas tanks. He also makes somewhat scary electric versions (we call them "Death Chickens") made from hubcaps, kitchen implements and old drill motors:
Here is a rearrangement of the hexagons and pentagons of a soccerball (minus four pentagons) forming a football.
I use chicken wire and paper mache', illustrating principles of Organic Structure for this piece. It is entitled "Improv in Chicken Wire"
I like to make spoons out of decaying wood, driftwood, dead roots as a result of erosion and the clippings from a pruned bush of most any kind. The decay often marbles the wood with mineral deposits. This often creates an attractive and interesting piece or natural artwork.
I have been weaving purses from VCR tapes and various yarn. metallic yarns and knit fabric strips. My yarns are all from sweaters that I have unraveled. The results are remarkably soft and the metallic ones very 'evening-ish'.
I make collages from found objects and discarded materials--mostly glass. Other materials include stone, bone, wood, shell, metal etc.
This one is called "Journey."
I create couture clothing from trash and display my work in high-traffic locations across the country to encourage people to redefine their definition of waste, and lighten their impact on the earth. Eighteen of my trash-fashions will be on display in the Atlanta International Airport in 9 cases throughout Concourse E from April 15, 2011 - April 2012. You can also see my work at www.RecycleRunway.com.
This photo is of the Glass Evening Gown, made from 12,000 pieces of crushed recycled glass. It took 400 hours to create!