In the eye of the beholder: recycling junk into art

The premise of “Funky Junk” is simple: take items that most people would throw away and repurpose them into art. 

The Colusa Library has hosted the Funky Junk program every week for the past three years, and Wednesday’s turnout showed its popularity hasn’t waned. 

Lupe Ramos, who has been with the library for 20 years, scoured numerous resources to come up with projects, or utilized what she had on hand. 

Children were given three craft projects, all with a Valentine’s Day theme: Framed hearts suspended on ribbons, a decorated pencil-cup holder, or decorating a pillar candle. The frames were donated by a man who had made them out of scrap wood, while Ramos supplied candles from her home. While the bulk of the project comes from ‘junk,’ the supplies were mostly donated by individuals, she said.  

The children in attendance varied in ages. To accommodate the faster artists, Ramos had a puzzle for the children to solve. Winner, Madison Williams, 8, left with her arms full. The prize she won from the puzzle and several art projects she had completed will be Valentine gifts for her teacher and her mom.

Ramos said there are many reasons why the library’s program is beneficial to the youth and their caregivers who attend. 

“They don’t believe how creative they can be,” she said. “I’m always encouraging them.

Ramos said she tells them to just do it, and whichever way it comes out, it’s okay. 

“They enjoy it,” she added. 

Ramos, who will be handing over the reigns when she retires next month, is sentimental. She has gotten to know all of the people who attend her programs, referring to them as her regulars. 

“That’s one thing that I will miss because I’ve been doing this with the kids for 13 years,” she said. “Kids need a little more inspiration so they can really pull out that creativity. You can see how (proud) they are when they see the finished project that they did that.”

The program runs until May 23, every Wednesday at 3 PM. The next project will be a “Wind Car,” which Ramos is excited about. Every week is something new. Previous creations included a pool noodle roller coaster, bowling ball with pins, and wind chimes, just to name a few. ■