Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mandala XLV

(Above:  Mandala XLV. Framed as a diamond: 36 1/4" x 36 1/4"; framed as a square: 25 3/4" x 25 3/4".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include: spark plugs, plastic novelty eye glass frames, six-inch wooden rulers, vintage stitch pattern needle knobs, old keys, metal picture framing hangers, drapery hooks, buttons, paper clips, sewing machine bobbins, gold metal circles with holes (function unknown), and some sort of gear in the middle (also for an unknown function.) Click on any image to enlarge. $450 plus SC sales tax and shipping.)

I started stitching on this mandala before going to Arizona for a week.  It was quickly finished after I returned even though I had no idea how this was going to happen when I departed.  I had no plan after stitching down the toothed gear in the middle and the circle of spark plugs.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XLV.)

I knew that I'd have a border of layered buttons.  I had thought about adding the sewing machine bobbins, but otherwise I had no idea what more would happen until ....

(Above:  Found objects sent to me from a new, cyber friend, Marty Ornish in California.)

.... these things arrived by mail! It seems that just when I "need something", "something" arrives!  I couldn't wait to add the vintage Sears Kenmore stitch pattern needle knobs and the rulers.  Quickly, the gold metal circles found places on the mandala.  (They are the ones that look like the top of a salt shaker ... except that there's no way to attach them to a container!)  Four of the plastic eyeglasses frames got stitched down too.  I haven't thought up a place for the silly, plastic eyelashes but I'm sure a future mandala will include them!  Thanks, Marty!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XLV.)

The spark plugs came from Bill Mishoe's auction.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XLV.)

The toothed gear in the center of this mandala also came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  Like the spark plugs, they were on a table lot with all sorts of other junk.  I don't know what this gear once did.  It isn't always necessary for me to know the origin or use for my found objects. 

(Above:  Mandala XLV, hung as a square.)

My last name is almost always stitched in the lower, right corner.  On the mandalas that can hang as a diamond, I've slated the letters so that it isn't necessarily obvious that another orientation might have been intended.

(Above:  Some of my stash of found objects.)

Many people have asked about how I organize my stash of found objects.  Many people think I must have a very large room for all these things.  For the most part, I laugh.  Why?  Well, the word "organized" has very little to do with it.  Also, my stash isn't in a single room; it's all over the house.  Now ... it isn't completely disorganized either.  The photo above shows the items that have made it into the room living.  These are some of the things I absolutely know will be stitched to a mandala.  There's an old mayonnaise jar of paper clips, several boxes of buttons (though most of my buttons are elsewhere ... because they'd take up more room that this image shows!), boxes of vintage paper fasteners, a tray of clock gears, a cigar box of laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands, and plastic bags of syringes and syringe caps.  There's a box of metal picture frame hangers and another box of screw eyes.  One Ziploc bag has a collection of zipper pulls and there's a red mesh bag with white plastic dairy pulls.  
(Above:  An antique butterfly collection cabinet with several open drawers.)

In a downstairs room, I have an antique butterfly collection cabinet.  It functions like a flat file unit.  I know its original function only because the drawers once included a wire mesh over each one.  This was for drying the collected specimens.  There were also random bits of butterfly wings, here and there.  The cabinet wasn't that expensive because the original door was gone.  Some of the drawers now hold clock gears.  Some have nails.  Some hold old book spines.  Most are simply assortments of small objects.  So ... a little organization but not much!

(Above:  A table with more "stuff" but also where I keep my electric drill.)

On a nearby table, I have more of my stash.  This is, however, an important place.  My electric drill stays plugged in and ready to drill holes in things like dominoes and six-inch wooden rulers.  My Dremel tool is on a shelf just below.  Lots happens here.  Beside this table are two, ten-gallon buckets.  Each one is about one-third filled with old keys from a college dormitory.  Student mailboxes were re-keyed every year.  I was the lucky recipient of hundred of used keys!

(Above:  Spark plugs!)
The found object stash is in a constant state of change.  Just when I thought that spark plugs were the coolest, most imaginative, and unusual "embroidery supply", I was the lucky, successful bidder on a box of brand new spark plugs.  This was just last Wednesday at Bill Mishoe's auction.  Inside the small box was six smaller boxes.  Inside those were eight packages of small engine spark plugs.  For $7.50 I have all these items for the next mandala!  Who would have thought!


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your system. Your art is unique and fascinating.

Shannon said...

I love seeing your storage, and I love the eyeglass frames on this one!

Grovenore said...

I think the "gear" may be the dial part of an old rotary dial telephone. I enjoy seeing what you do with all the found objects!

Susan Lenz said...

Thanks so much for the comments, especially the idea that my gear came from inside an old rotary telephone. I have one of those and will soon check! If this idea is correct, I'll have another centerpiece!