Maker in Residence: Sustainable Art with Cara McKinley

Maker in Residence: Sustainable Art with Cara McKinley

2020 is certainly a year that we will forever remember. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to flex and develop our 21st Century Skills (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) in order to reinvent our way of life and stay connected to our community. Faced with these challenges, local artist Cara McKinley has worked with PPLD’s Creative Services staff to completely reinvent and rebuild the annual Maker in Residence Program (MIR), adapting it to meet social-distancing needs.

Explore Fall Maker in Residence Create Together: Community Build to learn about the collaborative art project!


Classes

In place of in-person classes, Cara has created skill-based project videos that introduce the viewer to traditional clay ceramic and assemblage skills using non-traditional, sustainable materials readily available at home. We encourage you to follow along with the projects using your own materials, so we’ve provided a suggested supply list with each video so that you can participate at your own convenience.

Recognizing the value of direct interaction, we also scheduled several MIR Live Chats to provide community members with an opportunity to chat with Cara and ask her questions about the videos and her art style, connect with other community members, and show off their finished pieces.

  • Clay Dig
    • Clay Dig part one: A quick tutorial on how to find and dig clay, overviewing what properties or characteristics to look for when digging, with conscientious and ethical dig considerations included.
    • Clay Dig part two: Using the locally-sourced clay from part one, learn to create a small pinched object, and get a sneak peek into the Community Build projects that you'll find at PPLD Libraries across the Pikes Peak region!
      • Supplies: backyard clay (or air dry clay), plastic knife, plastic fork, pencil or pen
      • Optional: water cup, paint brush, inspiration foliage (leaves and flowers to press into the clay), pigment (tempera, acrylic, latex, glitter, etc.)
  • Sand Sculpture
    • Sand Sculptures part one: Using a tinfoil sculpted form as the base, this sandsculpting method of faux concrete sculpture incorporates glue, dirt, and pigment found in the home to coat the tinfoil form. See what other objects and materials can be added to create visual interest.
      • Supplies: Elmer's Glue (all purpose), dirt/sand from your yard (play sand works too), tinfoil, mixing cup, parchment paper
      • Optional: paint (latex, acrylic, or spray)
    • Sand Sculptures part two: For the sandcasting technique, use sand, glue, plastic, and different types of color such as food coloring or acrylic paint to create a one-part mold casting. Make and pour your own mixture into your favorite shapes in a form made from sand! Create one, two, or ten... you're the artist!
      • Supplies: Elmer's Glue (all purpose), dirt/sand from your yard (play sand works too), shallow container (or box lid), recycled plastic, parchment paper, fibrous string (yarn, rope, fabric strips), old brush or mixing stick, mixing cup, food coloring or pigment (watercolor paint, tempera), permanent marker
      • Optional: glitter, rhinestones, sequins, other found additions, tinfoil
  • Plastic Reboot
    • Plastic Reboot: Using simple and complex building methods, along with previous techniques (introduced in Clay Dig & Sand Sculptures), learn to reshape plastic using scissors, a nail file, and connection styles (maybe even some packaging tape). The everyday bottle is transformed into a treasure that catches light using rethought objects from your surroundings.
      • Supplies: plastic (found or collected), scissors, permanent marker
      • Optional: packaging tape (clear), nail file, pliers, drill XACTO, glue pigment mixture (or nail polish), wire, glitter, rhinestones, sequins, tinfoil, additional found objects
  • Maker Challenges

    Maker in Residence Cara McKinley wants you to pick a challenge from this video to complete in just an hour! Watch the video for inspiration prompts such as...
    • Make a tree ornament that you would want to live in if you were a bird
    • Make an instrument as tall and as wide as your body out of household objects and materials

    Watch the video to find more creative challenges!

  • Assembled Objects
    Here’s your chance to get a brief look at Cara McKinley’s studio while she explains why she enjoys working with natural and recycled materials and explains the importance of assembling objects to make art.

The Maker

Meet the Maker video

Cara McKinleyA transplanted surfer from South Florida, Cara has always been enthralled in looking at the natural world. After completing her Post Baccalaureate Studies at Indiana University Bloomington and Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Cara moved to the rocky terrain of Colorado to recreate her observations in clay and multimedia. Using video, sculpture, installation and assemblage allows her the opportunity to indulge in the essence of an object and her world to create a shared reality. She makes in variable spaces in a continuous process of play using traditional and non-traditional media. Household objects, found items and natural materials such as sticks, sand, clay, tinfoil, metal, and glass express a way to enjoy and pay homage to nature.

Learn more at caramckinleyart.com.