Thursday, August 27, 2020

Mandala II

(Above:  Mandala II. 46" x 46".  Custom framed section of a vintage quilt onto which assorted found objects have been stitched.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Even before finishing the first mandala, I was thinking about the second one ... and the third one (on which I'm currently stitching) and the final one.  There will be four similar pieces because there are only four corners on the vintage quilt.

 (Above:  Section of the vintage quilt stapled to a stretcher bar and about to have a layer of pale blue tulle applied over the surface.)

The vintage quilt came from auction. I didn't pay much for it.  (Rarely have I ever paid even $20 for an old quilt.  Often, I've purchased a stack of four or five for less than $20 ... sad but true.)  I understand why many are so inexpensive.  Many are damaged, and this one certainly had several tattered places.  I did not repair anything.  Instead, I applied a layer of pale blue tulle over the entire surface, stapling it to the sides of the stretcher bar.

 (Above:  Late 1960s plastic president figurines.)

I was quite excited about starting this mandala during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  Why?  Well, I decided that the first things to be stitched to this mandala would be my "presidents", late 1960s plastic president figurines produced by Louis Marx and Company.  What a perfect way to contemplate politics while stitching!

(Above:  Ernie, our new kitten, helped me stitch!)

I drew two circles in pencil directly onto the quilt.  One line helped place the base of the presidents.  The other provided an inner circle of gold buttons.

 (Above:  Mandala II. 32 1/2" x 32 1/2".)

Other found objects include brass hinges, keys, fountain pen nibs, screw eyes, plastic forks and spoons, sewing machine bobbins, safety pins, parts of a brass chandelier, lots of buttons, four old metal hair curlers, and eight pairs of small, dull scissors.  But the most fun was still "the presidents"!

These late 1960s figurine were a birthday present from my Grandma Lenz. She shopped at a grocery store that gave coupons for collecting them.  I received the entire set, including a Styrofoam stepped platform with four removal Styrofoam columns.   My three younger sisters and I played with them all the time, memorizing all their names and numbers (as in "first" president/George Washington; "sixteenth"/Lincoln; thirty-seventh/then serving President Nixon.) We turned shoe boxes into government agencies and cut out "wives" for them from the Sears catalog.  (For a "wife", we carefully glued the small inset images showing alternate colors for dresses to pieces of cereal boxes.)

 (Above:  Please note ... Grover Cleveland as 22nd and 24th president.)

A couple years ago, my sister's friend heard about our days playing with "the presidents".  She thought it absolutely hilarious that four girls played with such toys.  She found a set on eBay and bought it for us.  She thought we hadn't kept the first set, but of course we did.  So, I ended up with two complete sets ... which meant I could put Grover Cleveland in twice ... as 22nd and 24th president.

 (Above:  Detail while hanging as a diagonal.)

I took photos of the finished piece both as a square and as a diamond.  I like the diamond presentation but think the detail shots are better when photographed as a square.
 (Above:  The piece hanging on the garage door.)

The photos were taken while the piece hung on our garage door.

 (Above:  The back of the piece.)

It really doesn't matter how I hang it.  The work is quite stable.  After stitching everything to the quilt section, I removed the piece from the stretcher bar.  A piece of acid-free, foam-centered board was glued to the face of the stretcher bar.  The piece was re-stapled to the stretcher bar.  Then, I stitched vertical and horizontal rows straight through the foam-centered board and quilt ... every four inches.  No part of this piece must bear more weight than just these small sections.  The work was then fitted into a floater styled frame (one that does not lip over the edges).

I'm really pleased with how this turned out and already making headway on the third mandala!


Alex said...

That is incredible! I love how all the found objects work so well without obscuring the design of the quilt underneath.

irene macwilliam said...

What a marvellous piece, this will stick in my mind for a long time. Fantastic and all the other complimentary adjectives.

Shannon said...

This turned out fantastic. I love all the texture the embellishments bring and your mounting approach means no sag.

Deb Hardman said...

Fascinating ! You always do interesting ,beautiful, & original work! I always love how it’s meaningful it is as well!

Ann Scott said...

Another amazing piece. I enjoyed reading your memories of the president figurines. I appreciate that you share how you mount so many of your pieces, I'm always curious about that.