Category Archives: Finished pieces

Things to Remember

Five Things I Want to Remember

Here’s a piece that will be part of my upcoming art show. I thought I’d call it Five Things I Want to Remember. It’s made with fabric trim that was given to me in a giant container of cast off odds and ends, wooden spools of thread that came in other big bins of cast offs, beads, and gold leaf.

A couple years ago, I got a whole bunch of gold leaf as part of yet another big box of cast off art supplies. I’ve enjoyed incorporating the gold into my found object art since then. I like the visual metaphor of gold leafed trash. I like thinking of the layer of gold like the layers of meaning that we all give everyday objects. They’re unremarkable objects, yet we handle them and they become precious to us. This can be good and bad.

The gold leaf can also suggest the practice of searching for joy and beauty in the everyday things around us. The gold adds significance and calls attention to details such as the way that thread wraps itself around the spool or the subtle undulations of a roll of trim as it unrolls itself.

Prodigal

My friend Jane Case Vickers and I have both been working on art for a local exhibit. The theme is the Prodigal story in the Gospel of Luke. We’ve been discussing her artist’s statement to accompany her art and she was curious what my artist’s statement said. Here it is:

I took as my inspiration the two brothers, their struggles, their interplay, and their shortcomings. In the parable, neither brother plays the role of the exemplary son. One leaves his father, squanders his inheritance, associates with prostitutes and then pigs. When he returns home, the other son angrily and bitterly refuses to join his father in the celebration that his brother has been found and his place in the family restored.

In my sculpture, the two brothers appear as two golden figures suspended in the mechanics of the piece. One hangs from the upper section. This section is actually the rotor of a whirligig, and you can activate it by blowing on it. When the whirligig spins, it carries this figure in endless, unproductive circles. Through a series of wires and strings, the second figure is also connected to the spinning whirligig. In this way, as one brother spins around and around the second brother is jerked back and forth, suspended just above the ground.

The piece is a metaphor for the very human and very familiar actions and reactions within this parable. It illustrates the ways that we, as human beings, fall short and the way that these shortcomings impact our relationships with each other and with God.

Separately, I enjoy making art that celebrates found objects in all their beauty, and I particularly enjoy the way the found materials in this piece resonate with the parable of the Prodigal/Two Brothers and its place among several parables illustrating God’s rejoicing that the lost is found.

Found objects in this piece include: rusty bed springs, a coat hanger, pop/beer cans, twist ties, shower curtain rings, Mardi Gras babies, old beads, old jewelry, gold leaf, cardboard, sewing machine bobbins, a beater I found in the street, half an ornament I found in the street, a ballerina cake decoration, an old needle case, odds and ends off some Christmas crackers, fabric leftover from another project, a star from a stuffed animal, a Barbie leg, and wire.

“Two Brothers” Complete

I just about have this piece complete. It’s appeared in many previous posts as a work in progress. I took it outside today to see if there was enough breeze to turn the whirligig, but there wasn’t. Too bad.

It’s inspired by the story of the prodigal in Luke 15:11-32. There are two golden babies on it for the two brothers in the story. One spins endlessly from beneath the whirligig and the other is suspended from the mixer beater and gets yanked around as the whirligig spins. There’s a lot of excess and a lot of joy in finding the lost (as in: finding beauty in trash).

If you’re wondering what it’s made out of, the answer is a lot of stuff I found. The only thing I actually purchased for the piece was glitter. Other materials are: rusty bed springs, a coat hanger, pop/beer cans, twist ties, shower curtain rings, Mardi Gras babies, old beads, old jewelry, gold leaf (yes, it came to me second hand), cardboard, sewing machine bobbins, a beater I found in the street, half an ornament I found in the street, a ballerina cake decoration (OK, so I bought that years ago at a junk store with the intention of using it for art), an old needle case, odds and ends off some Christmas crackers, fabric leftover from something else, a star from a stuffed animal, a Barbie leg, and wire.