Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Mandala IV

(Above:  Mandala IV.  32 1/2" x 32 1/2" as a square; 46" x 46" as a diamond. Corner of a vintage quilt covered with pale blue tulle and embellished with parts of clocks and a piano, textile mill spindles, screw eyes, safety pins, buttons, sewing machine bobbins, corner brackets, brass knob plates, keys, antique Christmas tree clip-on candle holders, doilies, and lamp fixtures.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The fourth mandala is now finished and there will be no others this size ... at least not resulting from this particular vintage quilt.  The quilt was cut into four, nine-patch corners; three, four-patch pieces, and seven individual blocks.  I will finish all of them ... but after returning from Great Basin National Park in northern Nevada.

 (Above:  Ernie assisting at the start of this mandala.)

Months ago, I was selected as this year's artist-in-residency for Great Basin National Park.  The two-week opportunity was postponed twice due to COVID-19.  (This was not due to the virus in the area.  Being so remote, the number of positive cases in the county were very, very low.  Yet, the park wisely followed social distancing guidelines and this resulted in a lack of housing ... until now!)  I leave on Friday. I'm driving and will arrive there on Monday morning!  I'm excited!

Before leaving, I was keen to finish the last, large mandala.  With help from Ernie, our new kitten, work proceeded very, very well.  The first thing to get stitched down were twelve, blue stained, wooden textile mill spindles surrounding a circular metal ring that was once part of a lamp.  In the center, I placed a clock part.

 (Above:  Detail of Mandala IV.)

Ever since putting a clock face on Mandala III, I've been planning on using more clock parts.  An entire day was spent disassembling two boxes of clock gears but most of the parts weren't particularly usable on a rather flat surface.  I needed to grind away projections on one side of each one.

 (Above:  Grinding away the projections on one side of the clock gears.)

Fortunately I have a few, local artist friends who work in very different media ... including John Sharpe who lent me a grinder last weekend.  It took an entire afternoon to grind away one side of all my clock parts.  (I first used my bolt cutter to shorten all these protruding obstacles.)  It was really fun to do this and I think owning a grinder is in my future!
 (Above:  Detail of Mandala IV.)

More than loaning me his grinder, John also had a box of piano parts he was saving for me.  The box had only the felt covered hammers, hammer shanks and flanges from probably two different pianos.  Many pieces, especially the shanks, were broken.  The box was also filthy but I had great fun saving the hammers and some of the flanges.

 (Above:  Ernie inspecting the felt covered piano hammers being hand washed in the sink.)

Many of the felt covered piano hammers didn't make it through the hand washing but lots did.  Sixteen went onto the mandala.  The flanges (wooden pieces with a single drop screw) were stitched beside the antique Christmas tree clip-on candle holders.  Frankly, putting candles on a Christmas tree seems rather dangerous to me ... far better to use them on a mandala!

 (Above:  Detail of Mandala IV.)

This is also the first time I used any other textiles on a mandala.  I happened to find eight small, stiffened doilies that worked perfectly with circles of screw eyes surrounding sewing machine bobbins.  In all four corners are mainsprings from vintage mantel clocks.  These had to be cleaned too (with mineral spirits).  There's oil in the barrel holding these mainsprings.  Finding and preparing the objects for these mandalas has been an adventure in itself.

 (Above:  Ernie continuing his inspection of the stitching.)

The other adventure is trying to stitch with Ernie!  He is starting to learn that chasing the thread isn't helpful!


Shannon said...

These are all so fantastic! I love seeing the up close shots of each one to look at all the different bits. I hope you have a great artist residency!

Unknown said...

These r amazing. I can't get over how they really look like stained glass.And the Mandela,brilliant use of upcycles, must have been fun to do.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

that's great about the art residency - but I fear Ernie is going to miss you - or will he attach his affections to your dearly beloved AND how will you manage without his supervisory skills that you and he have honed up these last few months...

totally amazed at what you have achieved with the mandalas

look forward to hearing what you do at the residency...

Margaret said...

I think this is my favourite so far!! And I love the idea of a quilt substrate. I've done this only a couple of times in my work, and only with paint and much more to think about! Have a safe trip to your residency -- I look forward to what you'll share from there too.

Alex said...

Stunning as usual and it's so well balanced. Have a fabulous and safe time on your residency!

Deborah C. Stearns said...

I love it! If you are selling it, let me know the price. I am interested.