Monday, February 25, 2013

Plan D...

I've been trying for several weeks to make a piece of art consisting of pennies I have found on the street while I walk.  My vision is clear -- the pennies are suspended from a grid of thread that hangs from a wood piece.  But executing that vision has turned out to be a flaming pain in the butt.

Plan A was to stitch the grid by hand onto a foundation of Solvy.  I put dots on the Solvy to show where the pennies should go, then I sewed around the pennies with blanket stitch.

After I did a dozen or so I became disillusioned.  The stitching seemed messy and I wasn't sure it would actually hold the pennies in place after the Solvy was washed away.

I cut the pennies away and moved to Plan B.  This time I would switch to the sewing machine and make a base grid on the Solvy, then stitch around each penny.  That seemed to work just fine, until I dissolved the Solvy and realized that several of the pennies had slipped out of their cages.  Besides, I didn't like the way the Solvy was behaving -- it didn't want to totally dissolve, and the pennies and the thread were decidedly slimy no matter how many times I rinsed.

Plan C.  I decided to stitch the grid out of a sturdier cord, without Solvy.  At each intersection I would sew a little square of tulle, just barely smaller than the pennies.  Then I would hand-stitch a cage around each penny, stitching into the tulle behind it to hold the shape and prevent the cage from slipping around and the pennies escaping.

I didn't even get one penny stitched on before I realized this wasn't working.  Despite the tulle, which was supposed to serve as a foundation, the cage wouldn't hold its shape as I stitched.

Plan A was looking pretty good by this time.  Why had I abandoned it anyway?  But I had a lovely base grid finished, and it seemed way too late to go back.  I need the piece finished in the next couple of days for a show that opens on Friday.

Plan D.  The DIY slacker's friend: the hot glue gun.  Last night I glued the pennies to the grid.  I guess a true slacker would just declare victory and attach the grid to its armature.  But I'm not sure the glue will hold, and besides, I have always wanted the look of the pennies "tied up" to the grid with some kind of stitched cage.  

Today I will return to the general concept of Plan A and attempt to hand-stitch them more securely.  If that doesn't work, I guess I'll think about Plan E.
 

14 comments:

  1. oh dear! sounds like a good idea to start with. I hope your come up with a solution quickly.
    Sandy

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  2. Good luck Kathleen! Thanks for bringing a smile to my morning. I hope that you don't need to do Plan F.
    xx

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  3. I'll have to try to get to the show and see it. I'm working seven days a week now, so that might be difficult. I love the theme of the show.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  4. You actually found that many pennies on your daily walk? I remember when you made bundles from things you found on your walks. So, while walking my dog, I looked for things to make into bundles. Found nothing but twigs and leaves. A few pebbles. Dog poop. Well, the dog found that. Now pennies. Sigh. I just live in a place where there is nothing to pick up.

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    1. Well, this has been several years of daily walks. You also have to be in the right neighborhood. No pennies on nice upscale suburban streets.

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  5. How about trying pieces of the netting that comes around a bag of onions, apples or other vegetables from the grocery?

    When my husband and I used to walk around Spokane we would find all sorts of ephemera, washers, bicycle parts, hair bands, parts of pens, screws, etc. I picked them up and tossed them into a tray when we got home. At some point the tray was full and he built a box for me to which I glued all the stuff, artfully arranged of course, and we mounted it on a shed in the backyard as a piece of yard art. Fun times.

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    1. Plan D is working, so far, with some difficulties, so I will hold this idea for a subsequent project.

      I don't know how big your box was, but I'd need at least four of the big boxes that 24 reams of copy paper come in.

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    2. The box was quite large, about 3-1/2 ft by 3 ft

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  6. Don't you just hate it when you have a concept...and when you try to realize that concept...it fights you at every turn? I still have parts that I SWEAR I will make it work...although I keep on asking myself....where would one hand a piece which has holes in it, suspended beads, and arms rather than being in a square???? The vision is sooo cool, and the road to getting there so twisted! Persevere, dear heart! I am sure you'll get there.

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  7. I had to laugh out loud when I read that you hot glued them on. That is SO what I'd do - no doubt while saying, "Now yer stayin' on there by gum!" OK, I'd probably have some profanity laced glue gunning, but still. Best of luck that they stay put.

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  8. Have a look at http://www.coroflot.com/acrstudio/Art-and-Exhibition-Design (cornelia parker's Matter and What it Means). Also there's the concept of using the coins to make a floor ... at college we had an artist's talk about an installation that had the gallery floor covered in pennies.
    Like farthings and ha'pennies in the UK, pennies will soon be a thing of the past...

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  9. Plan D stands for the Denver mint, right?

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  10. Well, this is very cool. FWIW (and I'm not sure you asked) I say tie up the glued pennies on the Plan D grid like little presents; might reinforce the grid, too.

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