Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Cocoon Gets Finished and Installed

 (Above:  Inside The Cocoon at the Rensing Center Library.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Yesterday and today have been simply grand!  The vision in my head became a physical reality. The Cocoon is mostly installed in the Rensing Center Library.  I've got a few finishing touches to add (like threaded needles and buttons on the little, round table ... something visitors can use!), but otherwise I'm ready for Thursday evening's art reception, 6 - 8 pm.  If you are in the area, please come!

 (Above:  The front side of the last two panels created for The Cocoon.)

Before writing about the process of transporting and installing, I'd like to share the last two panels created.  The one on the left has three different petticoats below a simple camisole on top of a pink tablecloth. The other panel was more complicated.  The decorative edges of five different bed sheets were removed and stitched into strips and decorated with yoyo-s.  The rest of the cotton sheets were donated to the Rensing Center for an upcoming indigo dyeing workshop.

 (Above:  The back of the last two panels.)

It's been great fun deciding how to incorporate my stash of mismatched, often damaged, generally well worn and neglected old textiles.  Yet, I've run out of hangers and I know I've made more panels than can be on display Thursday night.

(Above:  Spoonflower printed labels with the South Carolina Arts Commission and other funding information ... ready to be ironed onto sixteen different panels.)

One of the last things I did was to attach sixteen labels to various panels.  I designed the labels in Photoshop and ordered a "fat quarter" of them from Spoonflower.  Wonder Under (a heat-activated adhesive) was ironed to the label's reverse and then onto the panels.  Each label includes the official logo for the SC Arts Commission and the following statement:  Funded in part by the SC Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC. Including this information is part of the agreement for the funding.  The funding assisted with the purchase of the pipe system on which The Cocoon is built.

Finally, I had all thirty-six hangers filled and ready to be transported to the Rensing Library.  (Just look how nice my label looks in the lower portion of that panel!)

I had what seemed to be a great pipe for my cargo van.  All thirty-six hangers fit nicely on it.  I thought it was brilliant ... until I tried to drive down the gravel path and out onto the paved driveway.  In my rear view mirror, I could see the pipe bouncing and bending under the weight of these textiles.  I knew I was in trouble and needed a better pipe!  I did manage to get to the Rensing Library, thank goodness.  It's only about one hundred yards away!  I unloaded my hanging panels.

Then I headed into downtown Pickens to Bivens Hardware store ... a real hardware store ... with an owner/manager and a knowledgable and hard-working staff.  The boss' nephew measured the inside of my cargo van, cut a much thicker pipe, drilled holes in it for hanging hardware, and chained the well-designed contraption to the cargo van's roof.  It can even be easily taken down later ... and put back up again when needed.  This service ran me $21 but I insisted on an equal tip!  It was so worth it!  This hardware store even sells my favorite, hand-cut, square Tremont nails!

So ... finally I was back in the library with the assemblage system in place.  The view above is how visitors will first enter the space.

This is how it looked from behind where the two chairs sit.

This is the view across the space ... obviously these views were before the panels were installed.

Now I have all the pipes filled but still have thirteen filled hangers.  I really don't mind the fact that not all the work will be on display.  I've known from the start that I had enough pipe system to erect a 20' x 20' area.  The Rensing Center Library isn't that large ... but hopefully future opportunities will require all the panels!

So, the rest of the photos are details of The Cocoon.  This one is in the interior.

In another indentation hangs the beautiful, heavy satin 1948 wedding gown.

Visitors will be able to walk totally around The Cocoon, looking at both sides of the panels.  The view above is one of my favorites.  In the distance is Rensing Center Executive Director Ellen Kochansky's grandmother's treadle sewing machine!


Between the skylights, the track lighting, and another set of double doors, one would think the interior would be awesomely lit. To be honest, the installation could use more light. But in another sense, the shadows from one side to the other are absolutely amazing!


With more even lighting, I don't think I could have taken this fantastic shot. It really showcases the elaborate designs of an otherwise white tablecloth.  The green color comes from a tablecloth on the other side of the panel.  The lighting for this particular view is stellar!

I'm very much looking forward to watching people explore The Cocoon.  Best yet, I can't wait to hear their stories of family members who stitched, quilted, and did handwork.  It's going to be wonderful!



Norma Schlager said...

What a phenomenal undertaking! I'm sure it will be well received. Good luck at the opening and have fun.

Linda Laird said...

Brava! Brava!! What else can I say?

Ann Scott said...

The Cocoon feeling comes through even in photos! Congratulations on a fantastic job.