Posts Tagged ‘lost and found toys’

The sun is shining and it’s a brand new year and because it’s also 60 degrees out today…you might not recognize that it is also supposed to be  winter here at the Falls of the Ohio!  I’m sure it will come, but for now we have followed our wettest year ever with a very warm beginning for 2012.  I’m walking the banks of the Ohio River on the Indiana side across from my home in Louisville, Kentucky.  This new year marks the ninth year I have been engaged by this project which has meandered as the river has.  I’m using the material culture that washes up in the park to make my odd form of public art.  I’m hoping to capture something about the spirit of the times in which we live within the context of this very special place which is important both to the history of life and my country’s history.

Last year ended with more high water which deposited even more debris into the park.  One would think that if you had experienced as much rain and flooding as we did that there would be little left to wash into the river.  You might assume that all the small streams and creeks and all the water ways that feed into the river would be flushed out and that the river would eventually flow cleanly…or as clean as it can after passing through our urban landscape.  Unfortunately, you would be wrong and I have the pictures to prove it.

I’m always on the look out for wildlife and birds in particular.  On this day, even the year round avian residents are hard to find.  Everything about this day was very still. The most noteworthy bird I came across was this rubber duck which is somewhat fitting since I ended last year with a collection of rubber duckies that I have found out here over the years. This holiday duck is just the latest to enter my collection.  Oddly, when I looked at this day’s images on my home computer, I discovered that many of my finds were also “yellow” in color hence the partial title of this post.  Here are a few of my other finds from this day.

How long do you think it will take before people won’t recognize what this is?  I came across this toy telephone handset among the wood chips. I guess you can view this as the original cordless telephone.  I think nature is calling.

This bright plastic train is missing its opposite half which washed away with the river.  It was sitting at the water’s edge on gravel deposited by the last ice age.

I even found SpongeBob out here, but what he’s doing looking like one of the queen’s guards, I haven’t the slightest idea?  I saluted back and dropped him into my collecting bag.

Although this isn’t some ancient ivory carving of a mammoth…I did pick this pachyderm up and he snuggled next to SpongeBob.

I’m not sure whether a child or the family dog chewed this plastic horse up, but it was missing part of its leg and had other teeth marks on it as well.  This is not the only horse I found out at the Falls today.  This following piece was much bigger.

It’s not yellow, but it’s a horse of some kind.  I imagine that this is a toy marketed to girls who would enjoy combing the artificial hair on its flowing mane and tail.  Frankly, it could use a good brushing because there were all kinds of burs and seeds tangled in it.  It might be interesting to find out what kinds of plants are ensnared here and I thought about planting the mane somewhere.  And now, another change of pace featuring horse power of a different sort.

I don’t pick up everything I come across otherwise I would need more than the single collecting bag that I bring out here.  Frequently, just taking a picture of a found object is good enough.  Here is a plastic Mustang car mixed in with the driftwood.  As I’m walking I’m also picking up Styrofoam, sticks, nuts, and whatever strikes my fancy.  And, as is my habit…I try to make something from what I’ve collected and photographed out here before I head for home.  Here is the first figure of the new year constructed from junk I found on this adventure.

I made this small figure in the western most section of the park.  The yellow earrings are actually fishing lures.  I came across these two lead jigs with the bright yellow feathers that were tied in tandem and fished on the same line.  The red-head gear is a fabric and Styrofoam flower that’s falling apart.  The necklace is a plastic heart-shaped locket.

While I was making this piece…I was discovered by three boys who live in the nearby town of Clarksville.  They were having an adventure of their own on this beautiful day.  The boys were curious about what I was doing and periodically they would come closer for a peek.  Apparently, what I was doing didn’t sit well for whatever reason with one of the boys who then started to call me names!  “Hey mister…your’e a freak!”  He called me a “freak” several times before running away.  Later, his two friends came by and apologized for him and we had a good conversation about calling people names.  I even reminded one of the boys of his social studies teacher and I’m guessing that’s somebody he has respect for?  Since the day was getting long, I decided it was time to head home.  I left my little figure with the feather earrings near the spot where I last saw the boys and perhaps they will find it.  Maybe it will give them the idea that it can be more fun to be creative than destructive.  That is always my hope.  Have a great year out there!

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