“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
― Edgar Degas
I was talking to my friend, Lin, this evening, (yes Lin, I am going to blog about you.), and I was telling her that I have to think of something to write about today. I told her how much comfort I get from blogging every day, because it makes me aware of what is going on around me. I can focus on the positive things in life and the wonderful people who have become a part of my crazy mixed up world.
Right before I called Lin, I was doing laundry, folding the towels and removing the dryer lint. I have a confession. I make art and take art photos of my dryer lint. It’s a curse, it’s a blessing…ok, it’s a curse. I don’t see things like most people do. The nice thing about this technique is, it’s disposable art. (I used to save my dryer lint for making homemade paper and crafts, but not anymore.)
So, I know you won’t be looking at dryer lint in the same light anymore, and I bet some of you are going to see what fantastic artwork you can create. Be sure to share and keep me posted on your lint art. Really! I’d love to see it.
THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE
(April 6, 2011)
“Dryer Lint as Art, Believe it or Not”
by Steve Vaughan
Sometimes art can help overcome life’s difficulties.
That’s the case with Heidi Hooper, 52, an artist from Pennsylvania whose work created from dryer lint will debut at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Richmond Road.
Trained as a sculptor at VCU, she made a name for herself with jewelry and costumes created from metal. She also made dolls.
“I was a master costumer. My jewelry was showing in galleries all over, and I was making a pretty good living at that,” she said. “Then I got cancer.”
She’s right-handed and had to have much of the muscle in her right arm removed, leaving the hand too weak to work with metal.
She found her new medium by accident. “When I was very sick with cancer, my mother-in-law was staying with us to take care of me. A lot of people had sent me these multi-colored chenille throws to cheer me up,” she said.
One day the dryer broke down.
“When I went to look there was this Peter Max-colored lump of lint about the size of a puppy on top of the dryer,” Hooper recalled. “Needless to say, the chenille throws weren’t chenille anymore. They were burlap rags. I saved the lint because people had given me these things as gifts and they’d been ruined.”
Later, she was looking for a way to continue her artwork.
“When you’re an artist, you have this monster inside that needs to get out somehow. Then my husband, Michael, reminded me of these pieces I’d done in college out of handmade paper. I tried that, then remembered why I hated handmade paper. Then I thought of the lint.”
That was around 2001.
“The first couple of years, they were horrible,” she laughed. “I was just relying on my own dryer.” Now she gets dryer lint in the mail from all over the country.
“I run a contest on Facebook every year where the person who sends me the best lint and the second-best get pieces of art in the mail. I?guess it’s part of the recycling that’s becoming so popular.”
Although her work looks to the eye like painting, it’s actually a kind of sculpture since the lint is placed by hand. “I’ve never really thought of it like that, but it is sculpture,” she said. Just in a softer material.
Want to go? Heidi Hooper will be at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum 3-5 p.m. Thursday, April 7. She usually donates a quarter of the profits to a local “no-kill’ animal shelter.