What do you think about when you hear the word art? When we talk about million dollar works of art, we often think of fine art paintings and sculptures. Art is often looked at as elitist, although art itself couldn't be further from elitist. Art can be made anywhere and in any way.
Since there are many, inexact definitions of art, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what makes something art. We know that ancient civilizations didn't create works of art like you'd see in humanities most iconic paintings, but that doesn't mean their cave drawings, statues, and pottery aren't art, does it?
Despite the liberal use of the word "art," there are some things that you might hesitate to call art. X-rated pictures? Soda cans drawn to look like celebrities? A toilet in an art gallery? The type of art that a woman from Maine is creating will definitely have you debating what is art. That's because her art is made from poop.
Mary Winchenbach is a woman from Somerville, Maine, but she's not just any woman. She's an artist. She began selling her merchandise at the Common Ground Fair, and has moved on to using social media to sell her wares. Social media definitely took wind of her works of art, and you'll see why when you find out what they are made out of. Mary Winchenbach uses moose droppings for her "Tirdy Works" line of art figurines. That's right. Her figurines use real "Maine Moose Turds," according to her.
It doesn't sound like an immediately appealing concept, but she has her fans. Her Facebook page has over twelve thousand likes, which is quite impressive for someone whose page is full of pictures of moose turds. How did such a weird idea come to exist? And how exactly did it get so popular?
WABI-TV contacted Winchenbach to talk to her about her odd idea. She had this to say: "Everyone takes a crap. Everyone goes to the bathroom so everyone can relate to that. The terms that I used to name these products are everyday terms that people are used to hearing so I just kind of try to combine the two to come up with something halfway decent that's funny."
A lot of her ideas are based off of puns, which are very popular in the craft community. She described one of her ideas to WABI TV: "For example the first off we make now instead of a cuckoo clock this is a Poopoo o'clock. We took them turds and we cram them in between the number there so there's one turdy - two turdy- three turdy." As you can tell, she's a quirky woman.
At some point you've most likely wondered whether what you were eating or buying was locally sourced or not. That can be a common concern for certain products, but did you ever think that would be a concern for buying... feces? All of Mary Winchenbach's products are made from locally sourced feces. As it turns out, she doesn't have them imported. "The turds are all local. We just go out and track the moose and wherever the moose are there going to take a crap and I have found that when I moose takes a dump you walk about 50 yards in any direction and they take another dump."
The concept is very unique, but it is a bit concerning. Sustainable products are great and all, but excrement might not be the resource we need to focus on.