Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shedding Memories

(Above and below: Shedding Memories, 3D found object assemblage, 60" x 20" x 14 1/2". Click on any image to enlarge.)

This piece came together last week. The actual work was done on only two afternoons but I did a lot of thinking between the two days. My mind swirled with construction issues, trying to decide exactly how to attach the three sets of crutches and how to stabilize them. I knew the piece addressed time and aging, the cosmetic desires inherent to people as they grow older physically but still have a youthful outlook on life. The antique train-case was the catalyst for this concept. It's pop-up mirror made it an instant symbol but I wasn't sure what to fill it with. Of course, I collect intuitively and thus find just about everything I need already in my "stash".

A friend gave me a gallon Ziploc bag full of 100% cotton nasal spray inserts. It seems a law firm needed these for a law suit but ordered the wrong size. The friend thought of me for the unwanted, wrong size pieces. She gave them to me and they were perfect ... pure, unused, clean, healthy, and suggestive of all sorts of things that might go into a cosmetic case. The snakeskin came from my parents. They found it in the woods several years ago. I've been waiting for the "perfect time" to use it. This was undoubtedly it. Yet, the nasal cotton inserts were "too bumpy" for the snakeskin. I dug around in my boxes of vintage linens and found a skimpy bodice with ribbon sleeves and a strip of lace ... perfect. The bottle came from England and had been filled with natural bath salts. I altered the label with WWII ration stamps. A clock key and pattern marker were added.

While rummaging through the fabric, I found the child's dress ... again, perfect! I hung it using a chain from a cuckoo clock. An antique key went on the other end.

To stabilize the crutches, I built a framework from pieces of Victorian furniture and cut down an old frame. Wavy antique glass was fit into the moulding and I added a wooden ribbon spool topped with a globe-like old marble. Most of the things I used came from Bill Mishoes' auction house. I was there again this week, hunting-and-gathering from the bits and pieces of lives I'll knew know but feel akin to. I got an old radio and a basket with wooden croquet-balls last Tuesday night. I wasn't successful with any of my bids on Friday night ... but I got a lot of hand stitching done for the next piece which is already underway.


Lynn said...

I love everything you create!!! This one is wonderful in all ways. Love the history to all those pieces.

Elizabeth said...

This piece is fabulous Susan!! You have such an eye for things and how to make them speak to us!! I can't wait for you to meet my good friend Leslie Brier- she has a similar gift and she lives in Fredericksburg.


Anonymous said...

This evokes memory and aging so beautifully. The components are enhanced by placing them together rather than forced, as I feel sometimes can happpen in some of this type of art. Such a harmonious piece.

Frieda said...

I love your work. Thank you for sharing the process with us.

Gabriela said...

Fantastic Susan!