Creative Cartonia

You can make art from anything

It dawned on me to paint on cardboard food packaging.

I love it.

What’s not to enjoy?

preparing a Dilmah tea carton surface for painting

You’re recycling, if not upcycling, your ordinary dry goods boxes – objects you take for granted; that you might not normally notice.

Par Avion
Sally Swain art
this is what became of the Dilmah tea box

You have a ready-made painting surface. Just add white acrylic paint and maybe some tissue.

Organic WeetBix box ready to paint

You have irregular shapes and edges. Very fitting for this strange, strange world we inhabit. I’ve always nudged and butted against the perfect, symmetrical, 2-D art rectangle.

Who says it should be so?

Sally Swain art
created on Rainbow Chai packaging

You have readymade wordy backgrounds without having to do the actual collage.

Organic Grief
Sally Swain art
created while listening to a friend grappling with grief

You can ponder the object of the flattened box itself – its design – the approach to advertising; what qualities of the product are emphasised. You are making a creative deconstruction – a meditation on consumerism.

What supports my Creative Wellness?
The dots that are already there.
Sally Swain art
painted on polka dot tissue box
while running Creative Wellspring playshop

Weet Bix cereal, Dilmah tea, Rainbow Chai, tacos, alfoil, a polka-dot tissue box.

Most of these pieces

emerged during phone or Zoom conversations.

They are a small selection.

Safe Place
Sally Swain art
created during phone conversation on a small fragment of polka dot tissue box

None of them is finished.

I am not sure yet whether to attach them to sticks to hang them, or to stitch them onto fabric, or umm to glue them to actual canvas. I’m not sure whether to combine some of them – kind of reconstructing the cartons.

What do you think?

with love, art and soul

from Sally


Creativity at your fingertips

I love working with carers. And carers of carers.

I love working with creativity, self-care, nourishment and sustenance.

Breathing light
and space
and air
into places
we care

So I sprang into the opportunity to offer an arty self-care presentation

to Sydney Local Health District carers

as part of their ‘Revitalising the Carer Conversation’ forum.

Carers. I empathise. I am one.

There are a gazillion of us, quietly (or noisily) behind the scenes, holding it all together, not necessarily identifying ourselves as carers. We provide the stitching you don’t see. Many of us barely keep ourselves stitched together.

Some carers don’t let themselves remove focus from their caree for even a day. Or a few minutes.

Caring can be Wearing. The popular representation goes like this: ‘Caring is rewarding and can sometimes be challenging’. Shhh. Between you, me and the crumbly gatepost, try this: ‘Caring is challenging and can sometimes be rewarding’.

Breathing light
and space
and air
into places
we care

Here are some almost-stats. I know. Unusual for me to offer something numeric.

Carers provide many billions of dollars worth of unpaid labour in Australia. 

Carers are the single most unhealthy segment of the population. I find this extraordinary. Really? Apparently so.

If I wore a hat, I’d take it off to those full-time live-in carers of a disabled son or daughter or a dementing spouse or an adult child living with psychosis. These folk live round the clock with their whole entire world revolving around the cared-for person.

I could go on.

Creativity at Your Fingertips

Creativity at your fingertips
10 easy access points to visual expressive creativity for well-being

I facilitated the carers and carers-of-carers to engage in Sacred Scribble, play with colour and

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