Activity Snapshot:

As we transition to the summer months, we might begin to see more insect activity in our unique communities. It is important to understand the vital role that these tiny organisms play within our ecosystems. Using only recycled/reused/upcycled materials found in your home (and approved by caregivers), create a sculpture of a beneficial insect, or another animal or plant that lives in your ecosystem. You can use tape, glue, wire, and string for attaching materials together.

Goal: 

Create a sculpture of a beneficial insect or other living thing using only the materials we can find in our home environments.

Time Recommended:

  • 1 – 2 hours

Materials:

The materials for this project are mixed media and completely open to the availability of each individual person’s situation. 

Suggested materials-

  • plastic bottles 
  • Cardboard
  • Mixed paper
  • Magazines
  • Shoe laces
  • Yarn scraps
  • Fabric scraps
  • Bottle tops
  • Buttons
  • Pine cones
  • Twigs
  • Egg cartons
  • Clothespins
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Rubber bands
  • Mesh produce bags
  • Wreath wire
  • Twist ties
  • Tape- duct, masking, packaging
  • Glue- stick, liquid, glue gun (hot glue with adult supervision/ not intended to be used on plastic materials)

Instructions:

  1. To begin your creative process, you can start with some simple research to better understand what makes an insect beneficial- Search for:
    1. Youth and Entomology (the importance of insects article)- https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/radicalbugs/default.php?page=importance_of_insects
    2. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate ConservationHabitat Planning for Beneficial Insects
  2. To get a list of specific beneficial insects in your area you can look up your local/state cooperative extension using this link- Search for:
    1. Farmer’s Almanac- Cooperative Extension list by state
    2. For those of you in Maine- Beneficial Organisms, Maine Government Site- https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/gotpests/BeneficialPage.htm
  3. Once you know which beneficial insect, or other living thing, inspires you, the design process can start. A simple drawing can help you plan the specific parts of your sculpture and which materials you want to use for the: head, mouthparts, eyes, antenna, thorax, legs, wings, and abdomen. 
    1. For information on insect body parts search for Encyclopedia Britannica- Insect Body Part Terminology 
  4. Once you have your design planned, begin to gather recycled materials (with adult approval). Think about shapes and ways to build your design, consider attachments, and overall size/ proportions of the different parts. It is also fun to think of what you really want to emphasize in your final sculpture and make that the focal point.
  5. Feel free to capture a photograph of your process, the pre-planning sketch, your pile of materials, and the final masterpiece.
  6. Above all be safe and HAVE FUN!!
  7. For visuals to inspire you, look at the end of this document.

Important terms to know:

Upcycleart:

Glass or plastic bottles, plastic bags and other waste that would end up filling landfills or floating in the sea have, in the hands of some artists, become a form of sustainable art that highlights the degradation of the planet and surprises with its originality. The possibilities stretch as far as the imagination.

Ecoart:

Ecological art with a purpose, which is created by artists who are concerned with the state of both local and global environmental situations. The word “eco” is Greek in origin, and means “home”, and the word “art” is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.

What is the goal of ecoart?  It aims to inspire care and respect for the natural world we live in.

Human Ecology:

The study of the relationships between human groups and their physical and social environments.

Explore the following links to find visuals to inspire you:

  1. Insects made from recycled materials by artist Kate Kato – aka Kasasagi
    Kato, Kate. Part of the Outnumbered Collection, 2018.
  2. Cardboard tube grasshopper recycling craft for kids, the crafttrain.com
    KATE, MARCH 8, 2017, https://www.thecrafttrain.com/cardboard-tube-grasshopper/
  3. NON-TRASHY RECYCLED AND TRASH ART, SLACK, Dec. 29,2009,
    https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/12/non-trashy-recycled-and-trash-art/
  4. Kitka, The Recycled Bottle Sculptures of Veronika Richterova, Everything Czech, Sept. 4, 2012, http://www.tresbohemes.com/2017/09/the-recycled-bottle-sculptures-of-veronika-richterova/

Other Important Resources:

  1. Youth and Entomology (the importance of insects article)- https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/radicalbugs/default.php?page=importance_of_insects
  2. Beneficial Organisms, Maine Government Site- https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/gotpests/BeneficialPage.htm  
  3. 20+ Cool Plastic Bottle Recycling Projects For Kids- http://notedlist.com/plastic-bottle-recycling-projects/
  4. Ecoart Web Article- https://www.thisiscolossal.com/tags/plastic/page/3/ 
  5. The Xerces Society for invertebrate conservation- Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects
  6. Farmer’s Almanac- Cooperative Extension list b y state
  7. Encyclopedia Britannica- Insect Body Part and Features

Closing Questions:

  • What might the materials we use in art say about our physical environments and how we interact with those environments?
  • How can non-traditional art materials inspire us and promote creativity?

Share with your Community:

Take photos of your process and final product! You can also create other art inspired by local plants and animals to share. Share them with us so that we can include them in the Camp Chewonki@Home Chronicle!

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