Saturday, December 05, 2020

Mandala XXII

(Above:  Mandala XXII. 42" x 42" as a diamond; 30" x 30" as a square.  Found objects stitched to a section of a vintage Grandmother's Flower Basket quilt.  Found objects include: keys, clock gears, zipper pulls, clothespins, paper clips, metal washers, loose leaf binder rings and flat paper binders, film reel, chop sticks, buttons, beer caps, and wooden Mahjong tiles.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This is the fourth and last large mandala made on the vintage Grandmother's Flower Basket Quilt. There are, however, four small, single-motif mandalas that are finished and in the process of being framed.  I'll share them later.  Anyone following this series knows that I have been challenging myself with each piece.  Those made on the Grandmother's Flower Basket quilt presented unique challenges due to the lack of horizontal and vertical symmetry.  Basically, the "flower basket" motifs just don't line up that way; they line up only on the diagonals.  

(Above:  Mandala XXII, detail.)

On the last, large mandala, six plastic spoons were positioned at an angle.  They created a sense of motion and took a viewer's eye away from the asymmetrically aligned motifs.  I liked the effect so much that I wanted to expand it.  Twelve chopsticks did the trick.  Quickly, my husband and I started referring to this mandala as a pinwheel. 

(Above:  Ernie making sure the pinwheel stayed in place so that I could continue stitching.)

Of course, Ernie had to help with this piece.  In fact, the more I stitched with Ernie, the more I realized that I didn't actually need to fill the outside corners (which was where Ernie often slept.)

(Above:  Mandala XXII, detail.)

So for the first time, I left the corners open.  For me, this solved another challenge ... a way to leave enough of the vintage quilt visible that viewers would recognize it.  

Sharing these mandalas has prompted many questions about my stash of found objects.  Mostly, others want to know how I've come across so many multiples.  Well ... my collection comes mainly from Bill Mishoe's weekly auction. Until this year and COVID-19 restrictions, Bill Mishoe held two auctions every week. Friday night was for "better items and real antiques and furniture". Tuesday was for "used household items" generally sold by the "table lot".  What's a "table lot"? It's everything that was loaded on and often under a card table.  These table lots are generally the result of downsizing ... because a person recently died, was going into an assisted living situation, or was moving across country.  Some lots come from storage units with long overdue bills. There are lots of reasons why a table is piled full of things ordinarily found in a linen closet or a pantry or from shelves in a garage.  There are lots of flea market and antique mall dealers at a Tuesday night sale.  Like them, I sort through the remains of other people's lives.  I'm not searching for retail; I'm searching for wooden spools, bobbins, buttons, and the precious things some anonymous woman once cherished. It is my job to give these items a second life.  During the pandemic (after closure orders ended), Bill Mishoes started silent auctions. The photo above shows a sewing basket that became mine about two weeks ago.  It was one item on a table lot.  I got it and everything else on the table for a whopping six dollars plus 10% buyer's premium.  Most of the stuff on the table (chipped plates, cheap holiday decorations, and ugly knickknacks) went into our dumpster.  There was a brand new space heater. It went into our garage.  There were two unopened boxes of ink pens and several boxes of envelops. They went into our office.  We gave away a perfectly good, glass-covered cake stand and a wall display unit (still in its box).  All I really wanted was the sewing box with more than thirty wooden spools.  I had no idea that I also got three boxes of metal paper fasteners ... but I did.  Twelve of them are now on Mandala XXII.  The plastic rings (which I didn't see when bidding) will be used this way too.  I'd like to think that the woman who once owned this sewing box is happy knowing that the things she used are finding a place in today's world as art!  

(Above:  Ernie supervising the framing of Mandala XXII.)

As art, these mandalas are also all professionally framed.  It is, however, a challenge!  Some of these pieces have parts that extend beyond the relief of the picture framing moulding.  It is necessary to raise the piece off our work table.  We use the red plastic containers holding screws and mirror hangers, one under each corner.  Ernie thought this was a game.  He seriously wanted to crawl under the piece! 

(Above:  Mandala XXII, detail.)
Here's another image of Mandala XXII.  The Mahjong tiles also came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  Unlike the metal paper fasteners, I bought them specifically for use on these mandalas.  I don't know who once owned them, how old they are, or how to play the game.  I do, however, know how to drill tiny holes in all four corners and stitch them down!



Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

Ernie obviously doesn't mind a "lumpy resting place" - I would be wriggling around on such a bed and end up leaving the space and lying on my comfortable mattress elsewhere.

Thanks for revealing where the objects come from - the box lots sound amazing. And yes when you think about "leaving your home and contents" there would always be a market for certain objects if you had time rifle through and sort/save them.

I've bought bags of broken jewelry, strings of beads, ribbons and other similar objects from op-shops which are usually tangled but that doesn't matter if you have a package of say 500grm and you paid a $! Sometimes I buy oddball packs of paper, that is actually good quality, with only a few sheets used. I got some wonderful silky paper once and the pad had hardly been used...

Alex said...

I love the movement on this one and am very envious of your auction access, although I think if I had something like Bill Mishoe's auctions nearby I would be penniless and living in a warehouse!

Margaret said...

I think I like this one best so far! And little didy you know that Ernie is not only a Studio Supervisor, but has an artistic eye! ;-)

Ann Scott said...

So much going on in this piece, a lot of movement, truly amazing! I enjoyed reading more about your auction finds and seeing Ernie. I really miss going to the local swap-meet and digging through boxes of old, funky jewelry for additions to my altered pieces.
I hope someday, sooner than later, we'll be able to go searching again.