The toys I’m referring to are those molded pliable-plastic-straight-from-China toys that do nothing but find the bottom of your bare foot when you’re not looking. You know, those barnyard or wild animals like zebras and lions, airplanes, soldiers, dinosaurs, etc. They were suppose to spur our children’s imagination, but if my son was any indication they succumbed to a very short attention span and wound up in the same bag as the stubby crayons. He must have had a hundred of them. I remember the day I threw his stash into the yard-sale pile. I remember the woman who bought them all “for one low price.” And I now know why.
These little figures are priceless gems when it comes to altered art, assemblage, and cake decorating. That the Chinese used a chemical compound with a 1000-year half-life, I am sure our landfills are teeming with them, but then so still are the yard sales. Unless a child or pet chews off an appendage, they can be run through the dishwasher and repainted. You can turn a plastic nurse into a zombie, or cover a polar bear with checks at the flick of a paintbrush. And to make them shine like new, just spray with acrylic varnish.
I made this necklace from a variety of materials, trying to create as much texture as possible. The rabbit is held on with tiny eye-screws from an old frame. I made a wool bead from scratch, the pendant from a kit, and added some St. Augustine sand in a bottle for no reason at all. There are real pearls for class, crocheted jute, ribbon, and I’m not making this up, some beads from the ’60’s that I wore to a very famous rock festival.
Inspiration comes from some very trendy stores that charge some very non-trendy prices for this whimsical stuff. It seems the more whimsical, the more it costs. So the next time you look at a bag of junk from your kid’s room, think beyond the bruised foot and see what you can come up with.