- I totally understand. No problem with that;
- I bet if I offered you $10,000 it would be for sale; and
- Who the hell do you think you are to taunt me with things you won't sell?
|Reminder to Self|
Today's example is "Reminder to Self," an assemblage piece I made in 2012. The visible area is roughly 3.5 x 5.5 inches, inside a thick black frame. This was a fun piece to work on. I wanted to use one of the antique telegrams I'd bought from Sara at Manto Fev. I was amazed to find that most of them pertained to Columbus. They were all urgent communiques about various difficulties in shipping by rail in the early years of the 20th century.
I envisioned the piece as being three-dimensional, so I decided to use one of the lovely plastic fingers I'd found at Michaels. They contained - of all things - bubble blowing liquid, and they had screw-on caps at the "hand" end. I chucked the cap, rinsed out the finger many times, and proceeded to give it a thorough going over. After a lot of sanding, staining and painting, it finally looked nothing like plastic. (Clear gesso is a great help in this regard. Use it on plastic or other slippery materials after sanding but before doing anything else. It really bonds the subsequent surfaces to the object. Clear gesso might be a little hard to find, but it's available online if you can't get it locally. Be sure to shake it up first, as you do with all gesso, because its contents settle quickly.)
|Urgent official business.|
I was newly in love with crackle medium at that time. I marked the area for the medium carefully to make sure it wouldn't interfere with the frame and taped it off. In spreading the medium, I paid particular attention to the area at the base of the finger. I needed to encircle it and make it look artless, as if the finger had really poked itself through. That dried overnight. It ended up looking rather like a map, perhaps even a map of Ohio.
After working so much with the lower left, the upper right area looked bare. I'd bought what I thought was a rather
A final coat of ModPodge, and I hung it on the wall, only to realize that it wasn't finished at all. When I tied a piece of vintage "reminder" string around the finger that I knew it was truly complete. That also gave me the title.
What is the reminder? Maybe the sender of the telegram needed to remember to get a less stressful job. Or maybe it's something I've temporarily forgotten. It might come back to me.
I still love this piece. It means something to me, something important. For now, at least, it is NFS.
Side bar: When I was looking through my collection of telegrams, I realized a few of them made no sense. They employed strange words that seemed like gibberish. Googling revealed a nether world of secret terms used in telegrams. These served three purposes: they made the telegrams private (often the codes were created by the companies involved); they saved the sender a lot of moolah (telegram fees were charged by the word); and they enabled people to say unpleasant thing without anyone knowing. (Perhaps "sanglost" meant "this guy is a drunk; don't work with him, or "butterspartz" meant "that train car is full of dead cows; get it onto a side rail quick.") No one can know how many secret codes were used, but there are some intriguing examples out there. Look for them when you're reading through your collection of antique telegrams.