Puget Sound Community School

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Dana Wenig

PSCS Volunteer Dana Wenig

Every Friday, Dana Wenig sits at a table in our community room surrounded by what might appear—to the untrained eye—to be junk: a box of tattered papers, needles and long plastic strings, and a container filled with stuff like dog tags, stopped watches, and wine corks.

“I’m just this side of a hoarder,” Dana says.

But it’s not junk. It’s art.

Dana has been hosting the art table every Friday for almost two years. PSCS does not schedule academic classes on Fridays because we believe unscheduled time creates room for reflection and, sometimes, inspiration.

“I hope to create a place where [anyone] can use materials I’ve brought to do whatever they want,” Dana says.

On this day, Dana is flipping though pages of a book called Finn Family Moomintroll, a children’s story that Dana read to her daughter, Kestrel, years ago. The illustrations in the book became inspiration to make art.

She found some dyed wool and, through a process called needlefelting, is making fluffy dolls that look strikingly like “moomins,” the gnome-like characters in the book. Students occasionally stop by and join in.

“I like cross-pollinating between art forms,” she says. “I like found objects, and this way I can use the things I collect. That way they’re not in my garage! So bringing them here is fun for me.”

It’s also about helping students express themselves.

“I like the idea that art is broader than simply sketching or painting,” she says. “Some people don’t think they’re an artist. Maybe they just haven’t found the right medium.”