I use all manner of found objects for my animals: flea market treasures; odd bits and pieces from a yard sale, antique store basement or thrift store, or things I find on the beach, in the gutter, or on Ebay.
Often, people familiar with my work bring me materials, a bit of this or that in a paper bag or a box. Sometimes people also call me when they are cleaning out their garages or the shop of an uncle who recently passed. Once a visitor to my studio (who worked at NASA) opened her car trunk and produced gold-plated wafers, and various rocket components and neat space gizmo stuff. Fellow artists have given me, among other things, piano guts (a piano has close to 5,000 moving parts-all valuable to me), a collection of 25 1930’s canister vacuums, and an older artists gave me his legacy collection when he become too old to make art. My brother-in-law has also been an ardent collector for my animals, sourcing finds such as old croquet sets and hand tools in his travels.
The materials usually tell me what the animal sculpture will be—the way that materials are jumbled on a work bench or in a tub – show me that the animal-to-be will be a toad with salad fork legs, or a flying fish with a model airplane engine, or a squirrel holding a hand grenade and smoking a pipe.