Friday, March 05, 2021

Mandala XXXIII

(Above:  Mandala XXXIII. Framed 32 1/2" x 32 1/2".  Found objects hand stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: a clock gear, brass house numbers, scissors, dominoes, sword-shaped cocktail skewers, buttons, four salad forks, keys, paper fasteners, bottle caps, washers, shoe buckles, and vintage garter hooks.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

For an old quilt that I initially thought had no real potential for "second life", this one really has worked out very well!  This piece is also presented with the last of the lovely, distressed silver "floater" styled frame.  The moulding was discontinued a year ago.  Steve and I bought the remaining stock.

(Above:  Mandala XXXIII, detail.)

The series is going on nonetheless.  One of the reasons is, of course, because I am really, really enjoying the thrill of the hunt for multiple found objects.  Another good reason is the fact that I really was able to purchase six or seven old, tattered quilts for future work.  Plus, there's the challenge to figure out how to stitch objects in place.  The sword-shaped cocktail skewers were at first a problem.  They don't sit flat.  Finally, I figured out how to cross the tips in such a way that they cooperated.

(Above:  Mandala XXXIII, detail.)

The brass house numbers were purchased on a hardware store sale table.  I only wish there were multiples of other numbers.  They only had four "eights", but these numbers provided a "ledge" for the ends of the cocktail skewers.

(Above:  Mandala XXXIII, detail.)

Another fun thing about these mandalas is how others have contributed to my stash.  My friend Flavia Lovatelli (who is also a recycling artist!) recently gave me all sorts of medical things.  She got them from a nurse.  She kept part of the device for prostate radioactive seed implants but gave me the long, blue tipped needle-like part.  (It isn't a needle though ... at least there is no sharp end!)  Who would have guessed that eight dozen of them were perfect on this mandala!

(Above:  Ernie agrees that this series must continue!  Where else could he go to be more helpful with my studio practice! LOL!)


Margaret said...

Wow! I'm fascinated -- first by the fork, which may be sterling or silver plate but is *definitely* worth something! Wondering how it wandered away from its "home" as it should be part of a collection. (I still use my dessert/salad forks but they're not of that pattern; the bona fides would be engraved on the back of the fork!) And then the cocktail skewers -- little swords! I've encountered them more than once in my life, but have no recollection where! And what stitcher (sewer, embroiderer, quilter) would surrender all those thread scissors?? Had they all become dull? Could they not be sharpened? It boggles the mind!

irene macwilliam said...

Storage must be quite something, are they in your studio?
love them

Susan Lenz said...

First and foremost ... THANK YOU for posting a comment! Margaret, the salad forks are silver plated and set me back a whopping six dollars minus 10% as they were on sale at a local antique mall. Having a business license and knowing that the purchase was for "business", I didn't even have to pay sales tax. The dealer selling them had all sorts of other silver-plated utensils for sale, all bundled in groups of four. I might go back for more! My recollection of the sword-shaped cocktail skewers is from days working as a waitress at the Ohio State University faculty club. A piece of water chestnut and a liver were often wrapped in bacon on such a skewer. I served plenty of academic parties, walking around the room with plates of these appetizers. Now, the scissors are the very cheap ones from big box stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. I bought dozens of scissors to take when teaching workshops in public schools. They are all now very, very dull. Sharpening would be more costly than replacing them. I still take dozens of rather dull scissors when conducting fiber art workshops though the supply list for my workshop says that the only thing needed is for participants to bring their own scissors unless they don't mind using my dull ones! Now ... Irene! Once upon a time (July 2001) I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to "be an artist when I grew up". I was 42 at the time and facing what became a two year task to forcibly downsize my otherwise still growing frame shop. There were fourteen on payroll that had to find jobs, long term framing commitments, etc. But the first thing I really did was to visit one of my clients, Stephen Chesley. That day he became my artistic mentor. The first thing he said after I made my admission was, "You already are an artist. You just have to go out and do the work!" Then he proceeded to tell me many, many things about a creative life ... generally more than most college art students hear in all four years. One of things he said was that storage would become an issue. (To this day, Stephen is more prolific than am I. His house back in 2001 was already overrun with artwork.) At that time, I thought to myself, "Yeah right! (Insert sarcasm!) If one starts fresh out of college, storage would one day be a problem but starting at age 42 ... well ...that's never going to happen". Like every other piece of advice from Chesley, he was absolutely correct. Storage is definitely a problem. My husband Steve and I live in a 4000 square foot house. Sure, the first floor is the frame shop but I've taken over lots of it and all the walls are now hung with my artwork. There is only one bedroom because the others are studio and storage space. I also have a stitching station in the living room which is where the mandalas are constructed. There isn't any way that all my artwork could fit into just one room. It is everywhere and I just keep making more. Chesley does too. It's what we do, who we are, and how we live. I am well aware that most will end up in a landfill. I work with hope that a few pieces find permanent homes and that something, maybe just one little piece, might survive past the next generation. That is the way of it.