The Littlest Workshop at Gallery 450; Mobile, AL, April 2016.

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{Vinyl banner, cardboard, fabric scraps, Mardi Gras beads, plastic packaging, magazine scraps, foam packaging, construction paper, markers, burlap, tempura paint, and stickers. Lots of glue, too.}

In a small-world moment a few weeks ago, I ended up getting a call at work from someone at a gallery in downtown Mobile. “[This church member] said she’s pretty sure an intern at her church likes making art out of recycled stuff. Are you that intern?”

So, fast forward to this Friday night, when I found myself cutting cardboard and drawing outlines.

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If this looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen this workshop (ish) before.

Cue Saturday morning, and the workshop began with papier mâché globes. I wasn’t responsible for that part, but I definitely participated — y’all should know by now I can’t say no to a messy art project! Whilst waiting for our new planets to dry, it was game time for my part of the workshop.

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A sunset in the making. Can’t you tell? (Or sunrise. You can pick.)

When it comes to this project, the rules are there are no rules. The only guideline is that you take you cardboard piece of the puzzle, and fill in it color-by-numbers style with whatever supplies you want.

After a while our puzzle pieces returned from the relative chaos and a girl and her glue gun got to work securing each contribution to a repurposed plastic banner. A little outlining on my part and our coastal collage was all finished! You can find more photos from the workshop on the gallery’s Facebook post about it.

One of my favorite things about projects like these is that I never know exactly what the finished product will look like. There’s a certain degree of “welp…hope this works!” Our artists ranged from toddler to grandparent with everything in between, and as you can tell there were maybe some varying degrees of consideration given to the color guidelines. Making art all willy nilly like this may lead to understandable skepticism for some. But there’s something I love about asking the question — offering an outline — and then leaving the process open to whatever answers we may find. Not a bad practice for life either, I’d say.