Photo by Christopher Myers

Photo by Christopher Myers

skillbuilder paper 158x158 Paper Plate MandalaAs 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.

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


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.


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