Making Do With What You’ve Got

Each year my city holds a ginormous art festival/competition/exhibit called ArtPrize. Over 1,500 pieces of art fill various pockets of Grand Rapids in restaurants, museums, parks, bars, churches, etc. Folks come from all over the world to check out the art. I’m fortunate enough that I just need to travel 8.51 miles (yeah, I MapQuested it).

My kids super love the art made out of various items (scrap metal, doorknobs, gears, etc) to create whimsical art. Every year we find polar bears or penguins which have been pieced together from whatever the artist could find. This year was no exception.


I loved this jackrabbit. There was also a Steampunk dude riding a bicycle (the wheels moved), a horse rearing up, a castle with little people and flowers and soldiers all around it made of tiny buckets (that was my kids’ absolute favorite).


I love the creativity of using what is on hand, what is otherwise useless, to craft something fun/amazing/beautiful/clever. It’s making do with what you’ve got.

I love how resourceful it is.

As a novelist, that’s what i try to do. Piece together any knowledge about a subject I’m able to glean about a subject/time period to put a story on the page. I go around, collecting different pieces for this scene or that plot point. I turn over layers to find complexity of character.

I make do with what I’ve got.

Really, I think that’s how art is. And I wonder if that’s also how we’re able to piece together a life, a legacy, a family.

It’s making a beautiful/fun/amazing/clever life out of what we’ve got.


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