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Photo by Christopher Myers

Photo by Christopher Myers

As a young sculptor fresh from art school, Wendy Brackman struggled with the problem of “selling out.” In the video below she talks about her decision to become a party entertainer. Her act involves spontaneous sculpture of weird party hats cut by hand, from paper plates, using scissors, and joined together with staples. That was it. In need of a broader color palette, she began painting the plates with acrylic house paint before cutting them up, and as her act developed and began to take off, eventually graduated to custom-printed and die-cut cardstock blanks, instead of plates.

[wpvideo 1ypoIPCF w=598]Video by Jon Kalish

Eventually, she began to incorporate jokes and “patter” into her routine. Now, 30 years on, her alter ego Wacky Wendy is a hugely successful and sought-after party act. She’s flown all over the world by corporate clients for executive retreats and other gala events. Recently, her 8′-diameter Paper Plate Mandala was exhibited at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum as part of their All Things Round exhibit.

American Visionary Art Museum – Maryland Life Magazine

Jon Kalish

Jon Kalish

Jon Kalish is a Manhattan-based radio reporter, podcast producer and newspaper writer. He’s reported for NPR for more than 30 years.


Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.