Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nuts for Acorn cups!

(Click on image above to enlarge. 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 2 1/2". Acorn cup lined fiber vessel with beaded rim.)

I'm gone nuts for acorn cups! Okay....for weeks now I thought they were "caps" but a little research has corrected what even Shakespeare's Puck knew! Act II, Scene I has the lines: "...all their elves for fear...Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there."

I also learned that there are over 400 species of oak trees. The acorns and their cups come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and shades. Symbolically, oaks and acorns have significance in most cultures from ancient times. Every part of an oak has some use. Obviously there's timber for the lumber industry; but, oaks are used for medicine, tanning leather, certain coffees, ink, Japanese drums, and by vintners.

(Click on image above to enlarge. "Hairy" acorn cup decorated fiber vessel. 8" x 8" x 6 1/2".)

So why the research? Well, I fell in love with these miniature, natural wonders while in Maine at the MacNamara Foundation's artists residency. I came back to South Carolina and noticed acorn cups in my own backyard! Sure, I knew the trees were there. I knew some were pecan trees, but I never paid attention to the oaks or the acorns or their cups....which are unbelievably smaller than any I gathered in Maine! Also, I noticed "hairy" cups within a block of my house. I'd never seen these either. With glee, I collected and started adorning one of the fiber vessels I'd recently made. Yet, I wondered how many kinds of cups there were...hence...I googled.

Above is one of the giant acorn cups I found in Maine. It isn't even the largest. Also above, is one of the acorn cups from my backyard. It isn't even the smallest! Below are some of the "hairy" ones embellished with beads and the miniature cups. I still don't know much about these cups because they're just not that important. They simply attach the acorn to the tree. Once the nut is ripe, they are cast away. I think this is why I love them so. I love restoring something to its former glory, presenting things as the unique objects they once were. No two acorn cups are alike. Even two or three attached in a cluster are different.

I learned so much in Maine....why I gravitate toward certain approaches to making art and how to keep my eyes open to the wonders around me!

PS Thank you Guzzisue for this fabulous link to crocheted acorns stuffed into real cups. I wish I could crochet. Maybe I'll learn because this is the first time I've ever seen something I really would like to make using this fiber technique!


Jacquelines blog said...

They are really gorgeous Susan! Do you stiffen them or are the standing on there own?

Ruth said...

How about these felted acorn ornaments with cups? http://www.wildlywoolly.com/2008/11/felted-acorn-ornaments.html

You don't need to crochet - felting is so much easier =0)

Your baskets are beautiful and I love to see the acorn cups used as such a lovely embellishment

Julie said...

These acorn pieces look wonderful. I loved the crocheted acorns too. Who knew there was so much to know about acorns?

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Oh wow!! Each of your vessels just gets better and better. Another thing that's incredible about using the cups is that the little critters still get to eat the acorns. Sharing at it's best!

Lee said...

I've been thinking about your acorn bowls, I think they'd be cool on a gourd! :) thanks for the schooling, btw!

Wanda said...

I forgot you don't know how to crochet. If you think about it, that's pretty funny. I mean you can do every thing else...you are my handwork hero...and yet, you don't know how to do something that even I know how to do! OK...I pretty much stink at crocheting...ha ha you KNOW that (think...afgan for Mathias) and I don't know how to knit.

Evan Dent said...

Oh Boy! You really took off with those acorn cups! The work looks great Susan.