Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Three Found Object Mandalas

(Above:  Mandala XCV.  Custom framed: 38" x 38". Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include:  Two clock faces; copper pastry molds; shower curtain hangers; assorted bottle caps; keys; laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands and late 1930s/early 1940s Christmas seals; wavy hair curlers; green casino chips; blue and white plastic bottle lids; sewing machine bobbins; buttons; and colorful, vintage Christmas light reflectors.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The past few weeks have been busy!  Despte having two solo installations open in Sumter, South Carolina and handling Christmas custom picture framing (day job!), I have made time to continue stitching new pieces in my Found Object Mandala Series.  I know that the Smithsonian Craft Show will be here in a matter of a few months.  It's scheduled for April 20 - 24, 2022.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XCV.)

I'm very, very happy that this series has been accepted into this prestigious show but I am also well aware that I've happily agreed to having a solo show at Artisans on the Square in Greenville, Georgia.  The show is called Once and Again: Alterations ... and it will include a selection of Found Object MandalasThe nice gallery owner specifically requested "mandalas" for this opportunity that opens on April 23.  Obviously, all the artwork will have to be delivered before the Smithsonian Craft Show.  Thus, I need plenty of work before April!  Mandalas for both places!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XCV.)

Thankfully, I absolutely adore stitching these pieces and I'm lucky enough to have friends contributing to my stash of found objects ... including Dolly Patton, Jinny Cherry, Flavia Lovatelli, Sue Porter Heiney, and Sabrina Corley Lindemann ... and likely others.  Once the items are mixed into the stash, it is hard for me to always remember those who so graciously donated ... but THANK YOU, one and all!

(Above:  Detail of a Christmas Seal from 1938 stitched onto Mandala XCV.)

Most of my stash, however, comes from Bill Mishoe's Tuesday night walk-around auction of used household things.  Recently, I bought a "table lot".  (Imagine a bunch of "stuff" piled onto a card table ... that's a lot ... and the successful bidder is supposed to haul away all of it whether wanted or not!)  I didn't even know that there were old Christmas seals among the things.  While laminating hundreds of Tampa Nugget Cigar bands and grocery store rebate stamps, I laminated them too.  They seemed quite appropriate on a Found Object Mandala featuring Christmas light reflectors.  It was fun to stitch this piece while listening to my favorite Pandora radio station ... Classical Christmas.

(Above:  Mandala XCIV.  Custom framed. 39 1/4" x 39 1/4" when hung as a diamond; 27 3/4" x 27 3/4" when hung as a square.  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include a copper pastry cutter; a clear glass lamp part over an inlaid backgammon piece; two sets of olive forks; laminated grocery rebate stamps; purple and gold coffee K-pods; wavy hair curlers; two 2-part stainless tea infusers; palmetto tree charms; and buttons.)

One of the reasons that stitching these Found Object Mandalas is so much fun is that I'm often confronted with a new challenge.  Every time I cut up an old quilt, I am faced with new fabrics, new colors, and a new background pattern.  The sizes of my work are also determined by how the quilt is dissected.  Then, some objects seem to disappear and others seem to shine ... depending on the background.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XCIV.)

Each piece is like a puzzle.  For this one, I had to figure out how to best use the olive forks.  I thought they were all the same, but they weren't!  Some were longer; some were shorter.  The copper pastry cutter, however, provided the perfect solution!

(Above:  Mandala XCIII.  Custom framed. 26 1/4" x 26 1/4" when hung as a diamond; 18 1/2" x 18 1/2" when hung as a square. Found objects hand-stitched to a block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include a gold-toned bracelet; a stainless steel lamp part on which an Arizona flag beer cap is stitched; galvanized washers; white plastic bottle caps; red, plastic protective corners for a mirror being delivered to our frame shop; screw eyes; Bud Light beer caps; insulin needles; Smirnoff bottle caps; flat, red vinyl African export beads; D-ring buckles; and buttons.)
I have several more blocks from this bright red, Dresden plate quilt. Designing on it is always a challenge especially since it was so poorly stitched!  The blanket stitches are sloppy.  The center circle really isn't circular. Yet, the piece really seems to have been loved and used a lot.  I enjoy giving it a "second life".

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XCIII.)

 I am already working on a couple more pieces and will soon be sharing them too!


Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

Just WOW...thanks for sharing

Ann Scott said...

Each so very different... I can understand how it would be fun! Congratulations, again, on all the showings.

Margaret said...

I love your Christmas-themed mandalas! Knowing that you never sleep (!) I'm sure you'll create many more before those 2 exhibits in April. Meanwhile, after reading this, I dug out your TED talk and watched again. And got another idea for some of my "precious" things. Merry Christmas, Susan -- and blessings for the year ahead!