Yucandu Studio Just West of St. Louis, Mo.: Turning Junk into Works of Art

Maybe it’s just another roadside attraction, folk art, or maybe some folks that have too much time on their hands. Just motor west on Route 66 and check out the art that imitates life. There’s the guy who twists tree limbs into various shapes and animal forms, a welder whose land is littered with rusty iron beasts of every description and form.

The Cadillac ranch down in Texas with the cars buried halfway into the ground, tailfins pointing up to the sky, the giant ketchup bottle, and of course, tributes to Elvis everywhere. Check out the world’s largest ball of string, rubber bands, videotape, and aluminum foil. This predilection for collecting a large number of everyday items and piecing them together has even invaded the church. At the Shrine of the Black Madonna near Eureka, Missouri, a dedicated Father spent some forty years collecting small rocks, pieces of broken glass and seashell to build the shrine.

For those of us who feel a little arts and craftsy but don’t want to spend an entire lifetime at it, there is a neat little “hands on” art gallery in Old Webster just west of St. Louis where you can satisfy your craving to piece together and help out the environment all at the same time: the Yucandu Art Studio takes ordinary things that others throw away and turns them into creative works of art and interesting displays.

Some of the materials include cardboard, old windows and doors, and the mandatory bits of broken glass and china. Instead of calling a supplier for their art materials, dumpster diving is the stock up of choice. This summer Yucandu is planning several “rescue” art projects for their summer art camps. Old trophies that they have been collecting for a couple of years will become armatures for “Family Tree” sculptures.

Yucandu specializes in bringing art into your life by providing all of the materials and the teaching so Yucandu it. For the summer they have special classes on how to make mosaics for your garden. By using bits and pieces of all kinds of materials like tiles, china, glass, pottery pieces, and stones you can make many different and unique decorations that will last for years to come. Yucandu has projects that include mosaics, decoupage, glitter, and paint. Prices range from $5 to $150. By paying an hourly studio fee you can be assisted by staff, borrow tools, store unfinished projects, and best of all, leave all of the mess behind.

Thinking about making one of those clay ashtrays to get started? Here’s an interesting recipe for making the clay: Take 2 cups of dryer lint, firmly packed, and mix with 1/3 cup warm water, 6 tablespoons white glue, and one tablespoon of clear dish liquid. Measure all of the ingredients into an airtight plastic bag and knead thoroughly.

Yucandu Art Studio is at 20 Allen Avenue in Webster Groves, Missouri. For more information you can call them at (314) 963-4400.

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