Cork Sculpture

Ever since I was a child I’ve had a thing for repurposing found materials. Neither of my parents were mad upcyclers, but I think I can trace this passion to an after-school class that was led by a parent-artist. This mom was (still is) AWESOME! — she died her hair, plastered her house (walls, ceilings, etc) with sequin-studded art, and encouraged us to create imaginary worlds from whatever we had on hand. Obviously I had an affinity for this sort of thing because all of my friends didn’t turn into artists like me, but this exposure helped me see the world through a lens that made things a whole lot clearer. (So thank you, Ingrid!).

Fast forward way too many years…I’m still making art with random bits and bobs — it just comes naturally to me, but it’s also a way of living. Art materials don’t have to be purchased in the store — they’re all around us. And now I’m in a position to inspire my own children as Ingrid inspired me.

Exposure is everything.

Cork SculptureI like to offer my 3-year old, N, materials as a provocation: I’ll put a few bowls of things out and see what she comes up with and on this occasion it was: CORKS! My daughter developed her idea for this sculpture from a box of corks, bag of buttons, a few small dowels, piece of laminate, and a hot glue gun, but it could have gone in a million directions.

Cork SculptureShe built the tower as high as she wanted, and then added the buttons and dowels. To assemble it, I manned the low heat glue gun while she directed me on where to put the glue. She was in control, but I got to keep everyone’s fingers burn-free.

Cork SculptureBaby sister was right there with us, captivated by and grabbing for all the little pieces that were potentially hazardous to her health. Who knows, maybe she’ll become a busy upcycler one day too!

If you like to create, tinker, or make art, can you trace the root of your passion back to an inspiring person or event? And do you see yourself as the source of inspiration for someone else?

This project is shared with It’s Playtime


  1. I love N’s face. She is so involved in what she is doing:) My grandmother was my inspiration. She herself was a writer and lover of art. She introduced me to all of the greats {writers and artists}. I have a little one I want to do the same for, inspire her to do her own version of creating. One of my favorite upcycling moments was on recycle day with my 30 kindergarteners. We collected recyclables for a month and just as the classroom was almost overtaken with creative materials– we spent the entire day creating some of the most amazing things. The students, like N, were totally engrossed. One little boy made a rocket and went home and told his mom, “This is the best thing I ever did.”

    • You must have almost cried at that little boys comment. I know I would have 🙂 Your daughter is lucky to have you!

  2. N looks so much older in this post…maybe it is the seriousness on her face? Love the picture of younger sister looking up! Everyday objects are the best art supplies (and toys) for children and they inspire so much creativity! My Father has always been my inspiration and continues to be…!!!

    • I agree, Melissa. Could be the barrettes? I remember hearing about your father — he sounds amazing. And lucky you!

  3. So cute! Love the photos of N! Again, you inspired us to start playing with corks!

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