Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady

$200.00 - Sold out

Image of Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady Image of Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady Image of Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady Image of Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady Image of Joke Explosion / Jenny O'Grady
This project is part of Container's Multitudes series, which invites writers and artists to transform the same object into works of visual and literary art. In this series, participants were invited to interpret a vintage metal lunchbox. Proceeds from the sale of these items are split equally between Container and the artist.


When I saw my lunchbox for the first time, I was SO excited. I have always loved the packaging for Cracker Jacks -- especially the tiny folded joke prize booklets. I love the little structures, and I adore the fact that the jokes are always terrible. Thinking on this, I was reminded of the way, as kids in the cafeteria, we would try to make each other laugh so hard we'd spray our milk out of our mouths (or, worse, our noses). Thus, this project was born.

I use fabrics and Tyvek a lot in my work, so I decided it would be a fun challenge to make caramel corn out of yarn knots and Sculpey peanuts. If you dig into the pile of popcorn, you'll find the Cracker Jack prize -- an embroidered envelope inviting you to "Guess What's Inside?" Inside the envelope is a joke book containing my favorite bad joke in the world: What's brown and sticky? (Answer: A stick.)

Assuming you're "eating" the popcorn, you're also "drinking" the milk inside the Thermos. And since the joke is so ridiculously funny/bad, the poem inside the Thermos (written on a spiral of droplet-covered white Tyvek) is a haiku about losing said milk to the hilarity.

It's quite possible this is only funny to me...but that's where the box took me. And, I'm guessing I'm not the only one ever to shoot milk out of her nose. :)


I used a full skein of wool blend yarn to make 300 popcorns; Sculpey clay to make 7 tiny peanut beads; white Tyvek, tan paper, embroidery floss, cotton thread, and glue.


A native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, Jenny O'Grady writes and makes book sculptures in Baltimore. By day, she edits UMBC Magazine; by night, she runs The Light Ekphrastic, a quarterly ekphrastic journal that pairs writers and visual artists from all over the world to create new works online. The Baker Artist Awards named Jenny a 2013 winner for her book arts, and she was the 2013-14 writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society, based in Columbia, Maryland.