Creativity during the coronavirus pandemic leads to ColorCapArt®
Like many of us, Dede Ward worked from home during the pandemic. But the usually busy graphic artist had less to do while her employer, the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind in Spartanburg, suspended in-person classes for several months last year.
“As a graphic designer and photographer, I wasn’t getting as much daily work as I needed to fulfill my artistic creativity,” says Ward of Simpsonville. “An art teacher at school had done some cap art using glue, so I began experimenting using plywood and screws so it would work as outside art.”
The result of Ward’s experiment is ColorCapArt®, works of hanging art made by arranging bottle caps of various colors and sizes to depict dogs, cats, birds, butterflies and yes, Tiger paws and Gamecocks.
Designed for outside display, each piece is mounted on three-quarter-inch treated plywood. Caps are screwed into the plywood, rather than glued on, with the finished work sealed with a clear acrylic finish to protect the plastic caps. Finished art measures 24” x 30”, 2’ x 2’ or 4’ x 4’.
Ward has created about 25 pieces of art made from colored plastic caps over the past year, with many of those being commissioned works. Typically starting with a photo, she sketches the subject onto a piece of plywood, then begins creating the scene using the plastic caps. Friends and family collect plastic caps of every description to keep Ward supplied with materials, with the occasional Ebay purchase used to fill in the gaps.
“It’s a moment thing, whether I want to stand (caps) up on their side and let them have a little height or lay them flat for a background,” she said. “It’s something I decide on the spur of the moment.”
Speaking of spurs, Ward has created Carolina Gamecocks for her University of South Carolina family, as well as Tigers and Tiger paws for her Clemson friends. Ward’s veterinarian commissioned her to create two dogs and two cats to hang outside the practice, and a homeowner in Little River, SC commissioned her to create a blue crab.
“It’s a creative outlet for me,” Ward said. “It’s fun and if people enjoy it, that’s what it’s all about.”