• Jen

proxy:art - 100 Soft Things

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

*Empty thing pattern*

Once a month, every month, for the past 3 years, I have hosted a free, all-ages art making day at The Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon. It's called 2nd Saturday Art Day and I love it so. It's my longest standing program at The Arts Center, and basically my whole community arts philosophy in one event: encourage folks to try something new and exercise their creativity with unique, crafted, and adaptable projects that anyone can do. And, it's open to anyone in the community, all ages, all skill levels, ANYONE. It's awesome.

Popup factoid: the 2nd Saturday title is in the same spirit as 1st Fridays, 3rd Thursdays, etc. that you might see with Art walks in your community, because us creatives are contractually required to promote activities in alliteration!

For December 2019, my 36th consecutive 2nd Saturday, I did an extra special project I called "Toy Makers' Workshop." Artists of all ages and skills were invited to make their own unique art toys, including balance toys, spinning Benham wheels, and soft critters.

Little friend with a little friend! (Image courtesy of The Arts Center, Corvallis)

The soft critters were my favorite; they're inspired by an art form that I really enjoy myself - soft sculpture. To encourage this activity, I spent 3 whole, finger-cramping weeks obsessively crocheting empty simple forms (spheres and rectangular "pockets," I guess). My fingers hurt. But all for the glory of community art! I call them "Soft Things" because all my creativity is being used up on crocheting ONE HUNDRED (100) of these dudes.

The project idea was for participants at 2nd Saturday to select a soft form, stuff it with stuff, and attach little bits like googly eyes, felt arms and legs, and pipe cleaner antennae to create their own unique little critter!

They came out better than I could have hoped, and now I'm considering doing the project again for a collective art space I coordinate in town for adults.

If you're in Corvallis on 2nd Saturdays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, come check us out at The Arts Center (700 SW Madison Ave.) See what's coming up by checking out the website: https://theartscenter.net/2nd-saturday-art-day/

You can make your own soft thing by following the patterns above. I was literally making these every chance I get, and it definitely does get easier by the 30th or so.