Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Exposed Threads

(Above:  Me holding the finished experiment now known as Exposed Threads. Click on any image to enlarge.)

On and off for several years, I've been thinking of potential ways to use the leftover thread from my installation Threads: Gathering My Thoughts.

(Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts while it hung at Gallery 80808 ... before being accepted for a solo installation at the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum in 2016.  Click HERE to see that show.) 

There are three, giant leaf bags filled with thread in a downstairs closet.  Keeping Ernie, our new cat, out of the closet made me revisit some of these thoughts ... which were truthfully more fantasy than anything approaching a workable plan.  That is ... until now!  An idea occurred that I couldn't resist.  I had to act on it even though it was really just an experiment.  After all, it might not have worked ... but it did!

Above:  A composite image showing a 24" x 14" frame in which a piece of Plexiglas was sealed in place.  Clear, waterproof caulking was used ... and because the lip of the frame is so narrow, some of the caulking was smeared along the perimeter of the Plexiglas ... as if a slightly blurred transition from the frame its coming contents.
Everything needed was gathered into the garage.  The work table was covered with plastic.  I got in my Tyvek suit, disposable gloves, and carbon filtering ventilator mask before stirring the two-part epoxy from one container to the next.  This is an artist grade, UV filtering epoxy that doesn't yellow over time.
The frame was put on four wooden blocks.  This was done to prevent any leaked epoxy from sticking the entire project to the table.  Thankfully, the frame did not leak!  I poured the epoxy, tilted the frame to achieve an even coating, and then ...
... changed into a new pair of disposable gloves before piling the thread onto the epoxy coated surface.
The idea was that the threads on the bottom of the mass would become saturated with epoxy but that the threads on the top remained looking "exposed".  I kneaded the threads, making sure they covered the entire area.  Steve even took a very short video.  It is HERE.  When all the threads seemed adequately "massaged", we left the experiment to cure overnight.
(Above:  A composite image of the finished piece.)

By morning, the epoxy was hardened.  The piece was held upright, shook while upside down, and blown with a stream of air from our air compressor.  Success!  The threads held in place even though the surface looks just like ordinary, unraveled thread.  The means of attachment aren't obvious or even visible!

The detail shot is great too.  It really shows the beauty in all this colorful chaos!
What's more, the other side of the piece is pretty cool too!  This is the front of the frame but the back of the exposed thread.

The detail from that side is equally cool!  Now ... to decide where to take this experiment!  Ah, the possibilities are endless.  There is hope to reclaim the downstairs closet!


Marni said...

Susan, Your creative brain must be working all the time. This is fascinating.

I just watched and episode of The Quilt Show from 2015? I loved you talking about how you gave yourself over to being an artist.

Linda Laird said...

Marvelous! Now you won't lose Ernie in a giant bag of threads! Just don't epoxy him to the plexi by mistake.
Linda Laird

Kim in ND said...

This is really interesting! When you do more, maybe you can concentrate on the image, colors, etc. Different sizes, too.

Ann Scott said...

Wow, another unique idea with great outcomes! The first thing I thought when I watched the massaging the threads video was a cat kneading, lol.

Sonia Tuttle said...

What will you think of next. Amazing!

Alex said...

What an unusual idea and an amazing result! Looking forward to seeing where your creative practice takes this next!