The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 18, 2013

Think like an artist when spring cleaning this season

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Spring cleaning is a good time to look at the world like an artist, said Linda Kyger, office manager at Spiva Center for the Arts.

"An artist looks at an object and wonders what they can do with it," Kyger said. "Creatively, they are always in that mode."

A significant portion of the art supply materials at Spiva are recycled materials. Classrooms have shelves, tubs and other containers filled with a variety of things.


Broken pieces of ceramics.


Paper towel tubes.

Egg cartons.

Pringles cans.

Food containers.

Broken jewelry.

Name it, there's likely a place that piles of it are kept at Spiva.

That might come in very handy when doing spring cleaning, Kyger said. Many old, unused things can be reworked into great pieces of art.

Such supplies make up a significant portion of Spiva's creation materials. Center workers said anywhere from 40 percent to a healthy majority of supplies are repurposed, from an artist's unused supplies to a homemaker's donation.

Think outside the box

Crayon creation

A handful of unused crayons can be melted into a colorful creation, Kyger said. All it takes is a heat-resistant piece of cardboard or canvas, heat-resistant glue and crayons.

Attach new or used crayons in a pattern across whatever canvas you use with the glue. Then use a hair dryer or a heat gun to melt the crayons.

The melted wax will drip across the canvas in any direction it is tilted.

Egg cartons

Egg cartons do double duty on Earth Day: They can be recycled over and over again for new seedlings.

"This is one of my absolute favorite things to do," Kyger said. "I plant seeds in them, then transfer them once they get bigger, and reuse the cartons."

Print materials

Have a bunch of paper materials collecting dust? Make a collage. All it takes is scissors and a glue stick.

And by paper materials, Kyger means anything paper. Maps, for instance. Spiva has a pile of old Missouri road maps donated by MoDOT, and they work great for print projects, she said.

Donate extras

If the artistic bug isn't biting, supplies can be donated to Spiva or any other art-based organization. Kyger recommended calling first; avoid dropping off donations unannounced.