Found Object Art: July 2020 Workshop Show

Found Object Art: The Art of Combination

Using small or medium size found objects - from the banal to the curious to the sentimental - participants were asked to look for metaphor and meaning by working with combinations of found objects which they collected. A theme topic was introduced each week: Chance, Identity, Ephemera and Memory.

In addition, students were prompted to explore new techniques by looking at a few examples of work from other artists such as Betye Sars, Judith Scott, and George Herms. Techniques in gluing, attaching or combining objects were reviewed and discussed based on the projects that each participant brought to class. Because this class was entirely facilitated online. Participants were charged with cataloguing and submitting images of their works in progress each week. Below, you'll find a selection of four photographed works from each artist with a short bio and description about each piece written by the artist.

The following participant artists are featured in this show, credited by the name of their choosing: Elisa de la Roche, Wanda D., Yoni Avdi, Annette, Alicia

Class created and taught by Matthew Fischer

Elisa De Roche

Elisa de la Roche wrote and performed three one-woman shows, and has been a featured actress in television, off-Broadway, and films. She taught creative arts at various universities, schools, and artist-in-residency programs, and has published a book and several journal articles. Being quarantined has the one silver lining of having time to focus on drawing, painting and collage. 

Summertime Blues

The quarantine closed the ceramic studio since March 2020, and the beads I previously made called to me to join the new piece. They are playfully dancing in the air, while being locked indoors. There are pearls in the bright blue river, which doesn't stop flowing.

Room With a View

My aunt worked for impresario Sol Hurok who brought the Bolshoi Ballet from Russia to the U.S.for the first time in 1959.The dancers gave my aunt a small doll as a gift. She gave it to me in 2003, when she was 94, not long before she died. It has been on a bookshelf in my apartment ever since, getting older and more worn out, the clothing eaten away and torn. I put the doll in a box and made a window with cellophane so she could look out from inside. Then I wrapped it up with cloth and yarn, and gave her hoops to jump through, and a magnifying glass for a new perspective. Now she is looking out at the world, quarantined in a box with a view.


In 1969/70 I studied flamenco with Manolo Vargas at Jacobs Pillow Summer Dance. He recommended that I go to Spain, and I left New York at age 21, alone, to study with Mercedes y Albano in Madrid. Although Spain was still oppressed under Franco, flamenco was thriving. This piece came as a surprise, little finds around the house beckoning me to choose them. For the upside-down fan I glued colorful fabric onto sandalwood

Call the Doctor

I covered the large box inside and out with white cotton, and sewed a little white pillow, reminiscent of a hospital bed. The smaller box I lined with white terrycloth, and put in a tiny washbasin and pot made from clay.  There's an antique medicine bottle with a cork, and the obsolete phone has a molecule of coronavirus on the dial. It's a new virus, yet our methods to treat it are archaic. 

There is a white hospital face mask, and a red cotton one which I sewed. What else is bright red in a hospital?

Wanda D. 

Art is therapeutic and healing for me. Not only does it speak loudly to many concerns that I've been silent about for years but it also allows many opportunities for me to deal with the pain and scars of my medical journey in fun and creative ways. As a participant in The Creative Center workshops since Winter 2017, I have released anger, and yes, even some prejudice, through various art forms that have brought me a sense of peace and joy despite circumstances around me. The pieces selected for this art show are grounded in a quote by George Herms during an interview, "By invitation only is how I work. I look at something, and if I'm invited to put something there, I put something there."  That to me is at the core of Found Object Art!

Freedom's Nightmare

This work shows use of simple, everyday objects to create decorative Independence Day piece while its title expresses strong feelings around this year's celebrations (notion of two separate holidays), specifically from Juneteenth through July 4th, at this time when our nation is seeing much unrest.  

We Wear The Mask

Image highlights COVID-19 as a priority and some of its essentials, while title alludes to poem "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (invisible mask). [wrong poet named on my written piece but don't think it shows well. I corrected it on my original but my camera's not working now.]


Image shows simple form of wrapping or covering something unknown, yet title represents change -- welcomed or unwelcomed-- slowly unraveling and revealing truth...


Human Touch

Image, text, and title speak to my yearning to touch, hold on to, cling to--time itself, loved ones, good times, to embrace...


Yoni Avdi            

I was a fashion designer in New York's fashion district for over two decades. I started pursuing art after I was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and haven't  looked back since!

Art has helped me to deal with stress and anxiety throughout my treatment, recovery, and most recently- through a global pandemic. Taking classes from home  has been especially comforting during quarantine. I am grateful for all the great teachers and people I've met through The Creative Center. I currently reside in Brooklyn, NY.

Assembling (Untitled)

Used random items found in my apt. Wood panel, wooden chair leg, mesh bags and raffia. Created by tying and placing objects together. The contrasting colors and textures created an interesting assemblage. 

Wrapping (Untitled)

I used denim as the wrapping material, creating a long strip by ripping a jean leg.

I added piece of natural and processed wood, as well as metallic wires. I kept wrapping, letting the material lead the process.The resulting object turned out- to my eyes-an almost iconic/religious relic, created by using the most secular of materials- denim. 


Ephemera (Untitled)

Using fruit, leaves and coffee grinds, arranged and manipulated on watercolor paper. After the paper was rinsed and dried, I sketched over the stains, echoing the original arrangement. 

Collage (The New Normal)

I used a magazine photo and a BW copy of the same photo, ripped and collaged over.  Touching on the uncertain reality we live in, the political duality/gaslighting we're living through, the masked and shadowed figures = uncertainty, and masks literally and figuratively. 



Annette is a musician who also dabbles in visual art.


Due to the pandemic, I can't visit my elderly mother who has dementia, so I decided to make a portrait of her.  The jar used to contain artichoke hearts, one of her favorite foods.  Inside the jar, I used strips cut from plastic air pockets to show that her mind is clear and open like a child's.  Her hair (made from painted rubber bands) is naturally wavy and she can't control it anymore, so she always wears one of those triangular barrettes (made from aluminum foil.)  She also wears glasses in a cool oblong shape that I struggled to imitate with jewelry wire.

Promised For Thursday

A printer's hat made from the New York Times, decorated with dry cleaning receipts, and a cardboard feather.  Everything for this piece came from my paper recycling bin.  Except purple paint, which was leftover from a paint-by-number. 



This summer fireworks were abundant in my neighborhood (Harlem).  I was sleepless but also fascinated with the fireworks' beauty and the mysterious people setting them off.  

Materials:  cardboard box (from peaches), leftover paint-by-number paint, tacky glue, leaves, pipe cleaners, sticker, foil stars


Alicia Justiniano

Alicia Ortiz Justiniano,  retired as an Administrator for a Production Company, after twenty years as a banker. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from (CWE) City College NYC and received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. In 1998,  Alicia was honored to be published in the school journal.  In 2014, she completed an extensive course to become a certified Reiki Practitioner. Her practice has given me the energy and ease to create prevalent to art.

Boriken Mi Isla

Wine bottle carrier, The Substrate, Pictures of Taino men holding a non-threatening piece spear. Mother and child dressed in humble clothing standing by their hut / on top of hut there is a piece of plastic representing natural building material. Beside the hut is the picture of a Coqui, a tiny frog indigenous to Puerto Rico. Inside the Flag is painted showing different images representing who the Puerto Rican people are today. Two spears, one was created by adding an earring to a wooden chopstick. The second one is the stick that holds a flag and a feather added.

Image of Christopher the Spaniard explorer who bought, religion, soldiers and disease to the island of Boriken, and wiped out he Taino Indians. Image in the middle, Taino, African, and Spaniards, this is who Puerto Ricans are.

Gold brooch with precious stones, which represents the gold found on the island called Rich Port/Puerto Rico.

On top todays Puerto Rican flag.


Mi Vision,  My Vision

Chest X-ray film, The Substrate, Adhesive shelf (lace patterned) cover, Spoken words, Red painted arrows to move the eyes of the viewer.


Ode to Game of Throne/Winters Coming

Element exposed wood, The Substrate. Two wine bottle corks, flat metal bar, which comprises the sword held up and suspended by fishing twine. Packing insulation, white cord, white tacks, on right corner of wood. Distressed crown tacked with a small nail.