Saturday, May 31, 2008


Scraps have always had an allure. I didn't associate them with discards or deprivation, but with extra, surplus. Scraps of pie crust dough meant crispy pastry dusted with sugar and cinnamon. I kept little scraps of paper with notes to myself--I filled envelopes with them, evidence of my life.

Scraps of fabric could be made into a quilt. Scraps of magazine paper could be made into collages. I once took a workshop where we made collages from beautiful handmade mulberry paper, and then the leader had us pick up all the scraps and make a collage--that is when my imagination really took off--and I ended up with an intense orange flame, like the burning bush Moses saw in the wilderness.

The sunflower mosaic, pictured above, is made of scraps of scraps! I took the bits of glass left from previous projects and it was magic to see how they are transformed. There is a story in the gospels about Jesus having compassion for the hungry crowd listening to him speak, and the only food to be found is a few loaves of bread and some fish, a small boy's lunch. As the disciples divide the food and distribute it, there is enough for 5,000, with 12 basketfuls of scraps leftover. Creativity comes from that abundance, the refusal to let things go to waste, but instead be transformed.