Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Wall of Keys

(Above: Detail from The Wall of Keys. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

I had planned to count all these keys while installing them but I lost track. There were too many interruptions during the five hours of nailing the keys! Honestly, I didn't think it would take quite that much time. Roughly, there are nine hundred keys.

When I started, the wall was empty and the card table was overflowing.

The nails are these really cool ones...tempered steel with a brassed, knurl-head from Ziabicki. They leave the smallest holes and are also quite attractive. (Yes ... I do have to patch and paint this wall after the show!)

(Above: The Wall of Keys. Click on image to enlarge.)

Each key has a handmade tag attached with a cord made by zigzag stitching over yards and yards of leftover yarn. There's the key to happiness, knowledge, my heart, respect, hell, a promotion, satisfaction, safe travels, the garage, failure, love, devotion, and world peace. There's a key for glory, amusement, animal magnetism, honesty, envy, her lips, and wisdom. It was lots and lots of fun to think up all the attributes, characteristics, and fantasy possessions that one might be looking for in life.

The installation is part of the show at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios for the annual Artista Vista spring "art crawl" here in Columbia. The rest of the exhibit includes work by the other twelve artists, plus me, ... all of whom have a studio in this location. The opening is Friday, April 28 from 5 - 9. Artista Vista continues on Friday and Saturday. Click here to access the event's website. I am also part of "Install It", a group of installations. My "I do / I don't" work is currently under construction ... photos coming! My LOOKING FOR A MATE, public sock art quilt is being presented to a delegation from the Mayor's Office on Friday at 11 AM. Quite a busy week ahead!

(Above: The Wall of Keys as seen from the side. Click on image to enlarge.)

I have a small sign/statement that is now posted on the metal beam to the left of the wall. It reads:

The Wall of Keys

Individually, each key might be regarded as a simple trinket. Collectively, the Wall of Keys confronts viewers with countless human desires for real and imagined locations in life. One cannot help but to wonder which characteristic, quality, condition or special place is most sought. Which one key is most important in your personal journey?

Susan Lenz
Individual Keys $15

A single key could open a door; a wall of keys might open the universe.

Yes ... I accept Visa/MC and can mail them (for just a few dollars more)! So ... if you want one (or more!), you can make a selection by using the really, really BIG photos below. They show the wall in four sections, from left to right, and are large enough to really zoom in on the tags. Call my husband Steve or me at Mouse House, (803) 254-0842, or send me an email at

(Above: Section One. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Section Two. Click on image above.)

(Above: Section Three. Click on image above.)

(Above: Section Four. Click on image above.)


Carrie said...

Wow! They look stunning. So effective to see them all hung together.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I don't think I had any concept of just how many keys you were dealing with until I enlarged all those pictures!! All I can say is WOW!!!!

raquel said...


Leslie said...

This is off-topic but I wanted to let you know I finally had the chance to stop by your 'Decision Portraits' exhibit in Salisbury. What incredibly beautiful and moving art. I especially love how the portrait frames are embellished with trimmings related to the stories. I enjoyed it all and am so glad I stopped!

Wanda said...

what an awesome display! I agree with Magpie's Mumblings...I just can't comprehend how many keys this is! Once hung, it's so stunning and magnificant. I can just imagine how it would have looked if I had hung them...all in an uneven row or something strange. You are amazing...everything you touch becomes beautiful. Well, except for maybe stuff in a kitchen! ha ha


I wish you had a photo of the keys in that big jar....they did NOT look like this in Dad's old garage! You have amazing vision!

Justin and Kari said...

May I use your picture of the wall of keys as a sermon graphic for my sermon called keys to the kingdom? It's such a powerful picture.